The Nacreous Oughts

24 March 2008

I think I will start a new project, an anthology of about 100 poems by 100 poets.
It will be different from most anthologies, in having both original-English and translated poems. I will be calling it Florilegium, Anthropocene, and I may comment on the poems as I post them (I haven't decided that part yet). When I finish, I'll make it a book. (So I may go back and delete some of my earlier entries.) I'll be starting with a poem by the Canadian poet, Milton Acorn.

     Knowing I Live in a Dark Age

Knowing I live in a dark age before history,
I watch my wallet and
am less struck by gunfights in the avenues
than by the newsie with his dirty pink chapped face
calling a shabby poet back for his change.

The crows mobbing the blinking, sun-stupid owl;
wolves eating a hamstrung calf hind end first
keeping their meat alive and fresh...these
are marks of foresight, beginnings of wit;
but Jesus wearing thorns and sunstroke
beating his life and death into words
to break the rods and blunt the axes of Rome:
this and like things followed.

Knowing that in this advertising rainbow
I live like a trapeze artist with a headache,
my poems are no aspirins...they show
pale bayonets of grass waving thin on dunes;
the paralytic and his lyric secrets;
my friend Al, union builder and cynic,
hesitating to believe his own delicate poems
lest he believe in something better than himself:
and history, which is yet to begin,
will exceed this, exalt this
as a poem erases and rewrites its poet.

--Milton Acorn
1923 - 1986

(I got this text from the excellent blog wood_s lot.)

K. S.

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