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Robert Duncan

(January 7, 1919 – February 3, 1988)

Poetry, A Natural Thing


Neither our vices nor our virtues
further the poem. “They came up
and died
just like they do every year
on the rocks.”

The poem
feeds upon thought, feeling, impulse,
to breed itself,
a spiritual urgency at the dark ladders leaping.

This beauty is an inner persistence
toward the source
striving against (within) down-rushet of the river,
a call we heard and answer
in the lateness of the world
primordial bellowings
from which the youngest world might spring,

salmon not in the well where the
hazelnut falls
but at the falls battling, inarticulate,
blindly making it.

This is one picture apt for the mind.
A second: a moose painted by Stubbs,
where last year’s extravagant antlers
lie on the ground.
The forlorn moosey-faced poem wears
new antler-buds,
the same,

“a little heavy, a little contrived”,
his only beauty to be
all moose.

Submitted: Saturday, April 17, 2010

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