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Robert Duncan

(January 7, 1919 – February 3, 1988)

Bending The Bow


We've our business to attend Day's duties,
bend back the bow in dreams as we may
til the end rimes in the taut string
with the sending. Reveries are rivers and flow
where the cold light gleams reflecting the window upon the
surface of the table,
the presst-glass creamer, the pewter sugar bowl, the litter
of coffee cups and saucers,
carnations painted growing upon whose surfaces. The whole
composition of surfaces leads into the other
current disturbing
what I would take hold of. I'd been

in the course of a letter – I am still
in the course of a letter – to a friend,
who comes close in to my thought so that
the day is hers. My hand writing here
there shakes in the currents of... of air?
of an inner anticipation of...? reaching to touch
ghostly exhilarations in the thought of her.

At the extremity of this
design
'there is a connexion working in both directions, as in
the bow and the lyre'–
only in that swift fulfillment of the wish
that sleep
can illustrate my hand
sweeps the string.

You stand behind the where-I-am.
The deep tones and shadows I will call a woman.
The quick high notes... You are a girl there too,
having something of sister and of wife,
inconsolate,
and I would play Orpheus for you again,

recall the arrow or song
to the trembling daylight
from which it sprang.

Submitted: Saturday, April 17, 2010

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