Sunday, November 20, 2011

Come, sweet rain

  Had no other chore 
  presented itself 
  to language, than 
  to make allusion 
  memorable, would 
  language have 
  resorted to au-
  thority, or to 
  desire? Would a 
  good opinion of 
  an ironclad coup-
  let, say, in Pope, 
  have held without 
  internal power; do
  we marvel at what
  it holds, or that
  it floats?

The blueness of the hour 
when the spine stretches itself into a groan, then the golden cheek 
on the dirty pillow, wrinkled by linen.

Odor of lanolin, the flower
pressed between thundering doubts of self, 
cleaving fresh air through the week 
and loading hearts to the millennium. 
Go, sweet breath! come, sweet rain, bewildering as a tortoise 
embracing the Indian ocean,
predictable as a porpoise
  diving upon his mate in cool
  water which is not a pool.

Frank O'Hara
  Angel Hair 6 
Donald Allen, editor
The Collected Poems of
  Frank O'Hara
op. cit.


  1. lovely poem, especially today.

  2. Yes, I felt bad about subjecting it to illustration - but not bad enough, to fail to acknowledge its derivation and vitality. I'm very grateful for some of its phrases but rather nearly ravished by how they hold together. I'm sorry he is so recent; in another 4 or 5 generations .. appraisal will have slowed down.

  3. i find today the illustration far out ways the poem - its a bit too full of puffery - while the last image speaks loudly in itself of pure power for powers sake

  4. Cher Lucien, I'll be sorry for the entry's failure to integrate itself for you, but it will be plainer why I do not share your complaint, when you reckon what is being illustrated, which is the entire entry: argument+evidence. The argument plainly casts the imagery which you find within the poem, as its conduct as a poetic figure, and this is a mode of expression common to O'Hara. Thus blueness of time becomes blueness of space, the sector of reading but also of making a writing; I could have depicted the last image in the poem; but the bewildering embrace is plain enough, in the vastness of its reach, but which illustrates not the tortoise or the concupiscence of the porpoise, but the élan of these images depict, which is one of consecration in sweet rain, from the point of view of poetry. I will hope to do better, in argument depicting art and in illustration's association with whatever is in the field at the time.