I am a poet of place. The place I reside--the room, the color of the walls, the shape of the window, the smears of bug and human oil on the window pane, and what's outside the window--inflitrate my writing. How can it be otherwise unless you write with a blindfold?
I suppose none of this is revelatory but I wanted to put it down, so that I remember it. Here's a poem I wrote today in which Vermont, the river, one of the artists who I met here, and even an otter appear:
When I woke the world was the thin layer
between the chocolate cake and iced white
frosting. It was about to snow for the first time
that season and the earth was bunched up
into the cold. I knew it was going to be a good day
because I’d had a nightmare
about mushroom clouds and that the small otter
which I’m told lives in the river outside my door
had been found drowned. It’s true that the morning
after a bad dream, the structure of trees seems
more genuine. I know the first flakes don’t mean anything
but what I give to them. I know that even though
my mind conjures up a nuclear winter, still
the crocus will come, and that my knowing it
means nothing to you. I have a friend
who etches images of lost stone artifacts,
cornices, plaster friezes, columns and pilasters
into graphite pounded into a roughened white canvas.
They are ghosts, he says, of buildings vanished.
Though when they’re not quite right,
I’ve seen him take a hammer.
Remembering W.S. Merwin (1927-2019)
5 weeks ago