Monday, August 23, 2010

An oldie revised ...

The Fog at Dusk is Crowded

The fog at dusk
is crowded;
Whispery voices
of dead poets
Slip ‘round my head
and through me
Like uninvited guests
Determined to see me
home or elsewhere,
Their resolution’s known
to them alone;
And, I fear
I am but a pawn
in this odd game
Of which I seem
the hapless prix de jour

“Remember,” rasps
a husky voice,
“All My Pretty Ones?”
Anne Sexton’s voice,
to be sure;
To think of her
makes me smile.
From beyond the grave;
she sees and snaps,
“It was not meant
to amuse, my dear,”
Then falls silent.
I am about
to protest,
that I know ,
but resist talking
to a spectre,
for all that.

I feel chilly hands
Clamp about
my shoulders ;
and even look to see
if they are there
which, of course,
They aren’t –
Or at least
Not visibly; still
Their clamminess
is such that I am
Tempted to pry off
Each cold finger
When a hollow chuckling
in the mist
is followed by
Teasdale’s unmistakable lines.

“I shall have peace,
as leafy trees are peaceful,
when rain bends
down the bough...”
Sighing deeply,
I do relax,
If even just
for a moment,
So fond I am
Of this fine poem –
The title of which,
eludes me
at the moment,
No wait –
“I Shall Not Care” -
Did that just come
to me – or did I
hear it whispered?
I know not,
But again, I tense.
As still, voices
swirl ‘round ,
And I know not
What direction
I walk, nor why
As if pitying
my befuddled state,
Another disembodied
voice says,
in tones all-knowing,

“Ennui... designing futures
where nothing will occur...” –
‘Tis Sylvia Plath ,
slipping her hand
in mine,
In such comradely
a fashion, I am
taken aback;
Rumour had it
she could be
aloof and difficult—
It is dawning
on me finally,
as she quotes,
the tiniest piece
of her work,
Just where
I am and why,
And all the hapless rest,
My own boredom
Not the least of it

Plath, impassive,
as always,
since that damned
Bell Jar success
and all that followed,
or didn’t
Is nodding, touching
My wrists affectionately,
Approving I suppose
of the unhealed slashes
She’s observing;
Slashes that run
Deep and vertically,
Wrist to elbow,
Both arms
A guarantee that I,
—to some extent—
A failed poetess,
Have succeeded
Best in death
And earned the right
To be amongst
This holy number,
Am worthy
Of my place here
In the fog at dusk,
With those gathered
All the dead poets whispering.


No comments:

Post a Comment