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Monday, 16 January 2012

Robert Duncan: Unkingd by affection?

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http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e2/Amethyst._Magaliesburg%2C_South_Africa.jpg/1024px-Amethyst._Magaliesburg%2C_South_Africa.jpg

Amethyst cluster, Magaliesburg, South Africa: photo by JJ Harrison, 18 July 2009




Unkingd by affection?

One exchanges the empire of one's desire for the anarchy of pleasures.

But pleasures themselves one finds are not domestic.

And the trouble of the soul casts jewel-like reflextions upon the daily surfaces.

One has moved only to a world where the devoted household commonplaces cast shadows that are empires; where the warmth of the hearth is kept alive in a cold that extends infinitely, the dreams of a king, ruthless in his omnipotence.

A plenitude of powers, an over-reaching inspired pretension, an unam sanctum, a papal conceit over all beloved things.

We live within our selves then, like honest woodsmen within a tyrannical forest, a magical element.

Shelterd by our humble imaginary lives from the eternal storm of our rage.





http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/6e/B%C3%A9ryl_var._%C3%A9meraude_sous_U.V._%28Muzo_Mine_Boyaca_-_Colombie%29_2.jpg/1024px-B%C3%A9ryl_var._%C3%A9meraude_sous_U.V._%28Muzo_Mine_Boyaca_-_Colombie%29_2.jpg

Beryl, emerald variety, seen under ultraviolet light; from Muzo Mine, Boyaca, Colombia: photo by Parent Géry, 28 January 2011

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/15/B%C3%A9ryl_var._%C3%A9meraude_sous_U.V._%28Muzo_Mine_Boyaca_-_Colombie%29_3.jpg/1024px-B%C3%A9ryl_var._%C3%A9meraude_sous_U.V._%28Muzo_Mine_Boyaca_-_Colombie%29_3.jpg

Beryl, emerald variety, seen under ultraviolet light; from Muzo Mine, Boyaca, Colombia: photo by Parent Géry, 28 January 2011

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/bd/B%C3%A9ryl_var._%C3%A9meraude_sous_U.V._%28Muzo_Mine_Boyaca_-_Colombie%29.jpg/1024px-B%C3%A9ryl_var._%C3%A9meraude_sous_U.V._%28Muzo_Mine_Boyaca_-_Colombie%29.jpg

Beryl, emerald variety, seen under ultraviolet light; from Muzo Mine, Boyaca, Colombia: photo by Parent Géry, 28 January 2011

Robert Duncan: Unkingd by affection? from Poems for Jess, 1952 (A Shuffaloff Eternal Network Joint, 2012)

10 comments:

TC said...

This piece is the first on the menu in a recording of Robert Duncan reading his poems in Berkeley, 22 March 1952:

Unkingd by affection?

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Absolutely loved the reading, Tom. Thanks for the link - it came alive.

departuredelayed said...

Very nice. That website shall get me through my morning, I think. I am also eager to check out the first volume of his complete works that are now trickling out.

kent said...

Yikes! Imagine YOUR name was Woodman and try to live with those last two lines.

This place is a marvel, Tom.

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

Great to hear Duncan introducing himself then reading this -- Berkeley, 1952 (I wonder where in Berkeley). I heard him read in Dwinelle 155 once (late 60s or early 70s), remember how he'd 'score' the rhythms with his hand, as conducting an orchestra (of sound) ---

"One exchanges the empire of one's desire for the anarchy of pleasures."

1.16

light coming into sky above black plane
of ridge, white half moon behind branch
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

system of reference, motion
of co-ordinates which

with respect to position is,
has been, can only be

grey white clouds reflected in channel,
shadowed green slope of ridge above it

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Beryl pearl crystal ocean silence deep down light smooth exchange

Definitely, pleasures are not domestic (poem essay)

here they are on those shiny surfaces
which are tossed aside/act as shelters

"sheltered by our humble imaginary lives"

Poem is tight crystal and is not the same when broken apart like a geode in order to find a crystal--

TC said...

Many thanks for attending, friends.


"Poem is tight crystal and is not the same when broken apart like a geode in order to find a crystal--"

Oh, yes!


Steve, thinking of "locations"--

The years of nights and nights of years do run together more and more as one stumbles down the broken steps into a doubtful future, but... it must have been four or five years now that ago I happened to be wandering along Shattuck near the corner of Hearst, past the block where RD resided around the time this poem was writ... when there came, from that direction, a large explosion, with reverberating aftershocks; followed within moments by great roarings of firetrucks, squad cars & c.

A veteran panhandler whose place of business is just round that corner exclaimed, "Al Qaeda!"

And my thought was, uh-oh, Robert's house has just spontaneously combusted!

We were both mistaken. Turned out some current dwellers in that house had been having a bit too much fun with fireworks.

But there is perhaps a certain volatility built into even the memory of a great poet's presence...

aditya said...

Very unsettling Tom. On so many different levels.
And moving too. What a wise man.

The inscrutable portent which is
inertia.

Poem is tight crystal and is not the same when broken apart like a geode in order to find a crystal--

Reading it, I can feel I am home.

And thanks for the locations bit.

PS- truth is always very unsettling I guess. For ex.

If you dont have an iphone you dont have an iphone.

Ed Baker said...

one hell-of-a-piece
from
One hell-of-a poet

Duncan

then as now
SWAMPS

(just about) everyboddhi !

He introduced Charles Olson at
That 1965 Berkeley Poetry Reading.

&

in 1971
when off to lunch at John Cage's
when I knocked on the door
Robert Duncan opened it....

"John's downstairs. Knock on the basement door."

&, as in that third paragraph; he had "jewel-like" eyes
that
(also)

castd "reflexions upon the daily surfaces"

upon
the Inside Ones &
the Outside Ones

simultaneously

&
that magnificent/true stanza that opens with:


"One has moved only to a world (etc)"

have never read this poem..... thanks.

ACravan said...

This is extraordinary. Curtis