[lit-ideas] Revision 1 to Time Rift

  • From: Lawrence Helm <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2017 12:28:50 -0700

Thanks to Palma's gentle hint, I revised the last stanza.  I probably should have spent more time working on it.  I could have ended it by bringing "hiding" up into the second stanza and making it a two stanza poem.  I briefly thought of that at the time, but that isn't the way it ends.

One of the pleasant aspects of never publishing is never having to assemble a group of poems and discover that they all need to be rewritten.    There is a danger in that as well.  The other day I read Lowell's 3 stanza "Beyond the Alps" from his /Life Studies /and then in an appendix of the Bidart and Wanter /Collected Poems /read the earlier 7 stanza Magazine version.  I liked the earlier version much better.  I wondered if the bipolar Lowell had written the earlier version in his manic mode and then later for /Life Studies /revised it in his depressed mode.

            Time Rift

    The lights dim.  I seat her
    At our table.  I am younger
    Then, smiling, full of music –
    Singing softly so only she
    Can hear – smiling and she
    Smiles too, catching her breath
    As she does.  Beauty is thrown

    Down and we take it up.  Which
    Ever way we turn the light’s
    Brighten.  Then comes the drum,
    Cymbals, sax and trumpet.  Then
    Keys thunder and outside rain
    Begins to fall.  We step out
    In night-air crisp and wet

    Hiding tears she shed on a
    Night I’ll never see again –
    Nor smile – nor hear her
    Catching her breath as all
    About us thunders in my ears –
    Leaving me singing songs
    She’ll never hear.

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