Sunday, August 24, 2014
In college, 55 years ago, Poetry is what I wrote. Never fiction, never memoir, nothing prosaic. I wrote poetry. Then I quit, not reading or writing poetry until my divorce in 2002. Then, unaccountably, I began writing poems again. I've done it now for the last ten years. The first five years' worth were about my divorce, my life since then, my delirious falling in love for the first time. I read poetry daily now, trying to keep up, and I realize I am in love with words still, but they are demanding other forms than the ones in my 21 books. I might see if any of you relate to any of my "modern" poems. Here is one. MIROLOGUE I leap on it in Zorba like a jay on a junebug: a word I'm sure I never met, certainly not in my first delirious rush-through fifty years past: it sends me on a race through Random House, Noah Webster, the Concise Oxford. No trace of it, so breathlessly into the cul-de-sac of the OED: it's not even there. Miro is solely New Zealand fauna, flora, a miro bird, a miro tree. Stumped. Online, the stern verdict: The Word You've Entered Isn't In the Dictionary. I won't give up easily. I introduce myself to George and Charles Merriam who, in 1847 put a new face on Noah's Model T. They never heard the word either. Dead end? Back to daylight's ornature: in context, it's a funeral speech Zorba’s Boss takes in. Intuition, that indispensable deus ex machina, says mirologue is cousin to admire and miracle, so, evitably, on to Miror in the lingua mater: to marvel, be astonished. (Logos is a word, mere empty words, a jest, or The Word, too profound to contemplate.) Backing up an ill-lit alley, where nothing can be traced, where the garbage truck has been and gone long ago, Zorba’s astonished at the death of an old woman? Maybe at the face of death itself? In the beginning was the Logos. I think intuition works best after long tutoring through tattered texts, long stumbling without the thread of Theseus. The aftertale of the chase: Kazantzakis is as dead as Icarus long fallen into the sea, and I have to choose. In the beginning was the Jest.