[lit-ideas] Two poems...

perhaps unfamiliar, one of which is a poem I once liked and like no longer---the converse of the latest proposal, that is,

to send in a poem one once disliked but now do.

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Inset

Dusk detaches the sprinkler on the lawn;

The ghost of the metal stirrup is stationary in sunlight,

Visible and invisible woven together, the seamless image of speed,

Like the Syracusan coin with the stamp of the dolphins diving in

And out of the hair of the goddess,

Where the image and vision are inseparable,

And one can clearly sense the buoyant trade lanes

With a rising porpoise slowed against the dissolution of sky.

But a secret here is the two velocities

Superimposed on one another, like a greyhound in the feather-grass,

Where, though the beast is rapid as an arrow,

Its motion seems to sleep against the drift of the plain:

So if a civilization be a rubbishy mound,

It is craft that will give us the right speed, the image

Anchored in space like a north light in a wall

Where white horses flicker through salty rust;

Though air blow the capes of a regatta of sails,

The ragged ocean only calls out the buoys,

And the slow strokes fuse at the stride of vision.

Remember Me

Remember me when I am dead

And simplify me when I'm dead.

As the processes of earth

strip off the colour and the skin:

take the brown hair and blue eye

and leave me simpler than at birth,

when hairless I came howling in

as the moon entered the cold sky.

Of my skeleton perhaps,

so stripped, a learned man will say

"He was of such a type and intelligence," no more.

Then when in a year collapse

particular memories, you may

deduce, from the long pain I bore

the opinions I held, who was my foe

and what I left, even my appearance,

for incidents will be no guide.

Time's wrong-way telescope will show

a minute man ten years hence

and by distance simplified.

Through the lens see if I seem

Substance or nothing: of the world

deserving mention or charitable oblivion,

not by momentary spleen

or love into decision hurled,

leisurely arrive at an opinion.

Remember me when I am dead

and simplify men when I'm dead.


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Robert Paul,
treading on David Ritchie's heels


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