Most subsequent poetry, at least the kind of poetry I care for, has been about trying to assess the cost and the damage of those delirious, irresponsible love-poems of the first New York school. Like, the complicities in this glad acceptance of the world. Wanting to share it. Should I share it?
chandeliers tinkling in the silence as the winds batter the gardens
outside formal lakes shuddering at the sight
of two lone walkers
Of course this exaggerates
small groups of tourists appear and disappear
in an irregular rhythm of flowerbeds
("As Your Eyes Are Blue...")
It's a world that's still recognizably ours, when we are leisured. The lovers wrapped up in their own impressions, which seem to interact with them and them alone; yet also a democratic world in which similar experiences affect all the tourists and tourist couples that stroll through it. The comedy, the high camp, yet the beauty, yet the sense of being absolutely clear-eyed, which asserts a moral power. By making no judgments or claims it maintains an integrity, as if the poem might, though it says nothing definite, have all the political awareness you'd personally wish it to have and a whole lot more that you don't have yourself.
The perfect grace and flexibility of Harwood's lines, his pacing, the layout, the use of spaces instead of punctuation: he can say anything, and it's all poetry. I'm still beguiled.
Labels: Lee Harwood