Sunday, June 9, 2013

Canon, loose

      The Lord gives everything and charges
      by taking it back. What a bargain.
      Like being young for a while. We are
      allowed to visit hearts of [others],
      and go into their bodies so we feel
      no longer alone. We are permitted
      romantic love with its bounty and half-life
      of two years. It is right to mourn
      for the small hotels of Paris that used to be
      when we used to be. My mansard looking
      down on Notre Dame every morning is gone,
      and me listening to the bell at night.
      Venice is no more. The best Greek islands
      have drowned in acceleration ..

Jack Gilbert
Refusing Heaven
  The Lost Hotels
  of Paris


  1. Laurent, jeune homme, your "edition" of this poem is exquisite. So much so, that I felt compelled to search out the original, complete version... and was most disappointed. Your circumnavigation of les femmes - worthy though they are - and your severing of the last third distills the poignant essence of the thing. Since it appears Mr. Gilbert has recently ascended to the excluded "stars", I do hope he won't mind my saying all this....

    1. Ah, dear reader, I fear I may not prove to be the distiller you take me for, should you read the posting for the previous date. You do raise the interesting question of the severability of this text into the exquisite and the awkward, but then again, you know rmbl ~ the awkward has its virtues, just the same. I do not like these violations of texts, but I try to present them sympathetically, all the same. Thank you for your close reading.

    2. Oh, and I had read it yesterday, then, but had forgotten when I read the whole, today. And I like that other sequence as well, when considered on its own. But, just between us, I still like the two parts better, separated, and on different days.

  2. I am not sure if I can escape an impression of Gilbert's own division of the work as a parody of commonplace complaint, first a recital of various ingredients of the much-reported 'decline of the West' and then a didactic kind of argument, in which complacency mocks itself. I do not think he would protest the permission you extend for this division.