[lit-ideas] Re: Potable Literature

  • From: David Ritchie <ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 27 May 2004 19:15:15 -0700


I may be right, I may be wrong,
But I'm perfectly willing to swear
That when you turn'd and smiled at me,
A flannel wrap, or someone who cared,
 sang in Berk'ley Square

Sorry.  A bit exuberant because I've just run across two volumes by Norman
MacCaig, in perfect condition in the library bookstore, the first verse I've
ever seen there.  It's a sign.  Clearly I should either attack Canada,
setting all the vedics to "stun," or check the fridge for unbeatable and
unopened dead horses.

But first, a taste of the 1956 MacCaig, "Falls of Measach"

The wind was basins slopping over.
The river plunged into its ravine
Like coins into a stocking.  The day
Was like the buzzard on the pine.

It looked at us with eyes like resin
From some shelf of the scaly past
And could see nothing in between,
For it knew nothing it had lost.

But we were our continuation
And saw our graves behind us like
Waterfalls marking the stages
To some rich plunge into the dark.

Let the wind spill one other gust
And the day like the buzzard will
Sail, and sink invisible
As a fossil in the distant hill.

David Ritchie
Portland, Oregon

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