July 27, 2005

Just Saying [Filed under: General Discussion]

I recently sent the following email:

This is just to say
I have put the program
into the directory
U:\TIS-Access\SAS Programs\HRSA Grant
and modified the program to use the file
All Surveys – Round One.txt
in the same directory.

And then I thought of Jon.

And then I thought of Hoke.

And then I thought of this:

I have deleted
the data
that were in
the shared drive

and which
you were probably
for analysis.

Forgive me–
with a single command,
so many ones
become zeroes.

And so I thought I’d share it.

July 16, 2005

Ave Atque Vale [Filed under: Collins, Billy]

Ave Atque Vale

Even though I managed to swerve around the lump
of groundhog lying on its back on the road,
he traveled with me for miles,

a quiet passenger
who passed the time looking out the window
enjoying this new view of the woods

he once hobbled around in,
sleeping all day and foraging at night,
rising sometimes to consult the wind with his snout.

Last night he must have wandered
onto the road, hoping to slip
behind the curtain of soft ferns on the other side.

I see these forms every day
and always hope the next one up ahead
is a shredded tire, a discarded brown coat,

but there they are, assuming
every imaginable pose for death’s portrait.
This one I speak of, for example,

the one who rode with me for miles,
reminded me of a small Roman citizen,
with his prosperous belly,

his faint smile,
and his one stiff forearm raised
as if he were still alive, still hailing Caesar.

When I was in Amherst with my parents, we stopped into the Jeffrey Amherst Bookstore, where my father bought all his textbooks in his college days. They were having a bit of a sale, and on the table in front of the store I found a heavily discounted copy of Billy Collins’ Nine Horses. I should not be buying books right now, as I have no room in my apartment (seriously—boxes take up most of the floor space in my room, so that I can barely maneuver (is it wrong to want to spell that with the œ ligature?)), and I don’t have a ton of cash on hand, either. Of course, I bought it. One of the first poems I opened to when I had a chance to glance through it was “Ave Atque Vale.”

(Read more…)

July 12, 2005

Memory [Filed under: General Discussion]

from Rococo

Remembrance may recover
And time bring back to time
The name of your first lover,
The ring of my first rhyme;
But rose-leaves of December
The frosts of June shall fret,
The day that you remember,
The day that I forget.

Some weeks ago Alan posted a pair of poems pertaining to obliscence. I meant to say something about these when they were first posted, but I *ahem* forgot. Just over a month ago I turned old, so the workings and the failings of memory have featured prominently in my recent ruminations. I have also been somewhat more casually contemplating the operation of memory and the rôle of forgetfulness for some time, so I certainly appreciated his posting these two poems.

(Read more…)

July 1, 2005

archy says [Filed under: Marquis, Don]

aesop revised by archy

a wolf met a spring
lamb drinking
at a stream
and said to her
you are the lamb
that muddied this stream
all last year
so that i could not get
a clean fresh drink
i am resolved that
this outrage
shall not be enacted again
this season i am going
to kill you
just a minute said the lamb
i was not born last
year so it could not
have been i
the wolf then pulled
a number of other
arguments as to why the lamb
should die
but in each case the lamb
pretty innocent that she was
easily proved
herself guiltless
well well said the wolf
enough of that argument
you are right and i am wrong
but i am going to eat
you anyhow
because i am hungry
stop exclamation point
cried a human voice
and a man came over
the slope of the ravine
vile lupine marauder
you shall not kill that
beautiful and innocent
lamb for i shall save her
exit the wolf
left upper exit
poor little lamb
continued our human hero
sweet tender little thing
it is well that i appeared
just when i did
it makes my blood boil
to think of the fright
to which you have been
subjected in another
moment i would have been
too late come home with me
and the lamb frolicked
about her new found friend
gambolling as to the sound
of a wordsworthian tabor
and leaping for joy
as if propelled by a stanza
from william blake
these vile and bloody wolves
went on our hero
in honest indignation
they must be cleared out
of the country
the meads must be made safe
for sheepocracy
and so jollying her along
with the usual human hokum
he led her to his home
and the son of a gun
did not even blush when
they passed the mint bed
gently he cut her throat
all the while inveighing
against the inhuman wolf
and tenderly he cooked her
and lovingly he sauced her
and meltingly he ate her
and piously he said a grace
thanking his gods
for their bountiful gifts to him
and after dinner
he sat with his pipe
before the fire meditating
on the brutality of wolves
and the injustice of
the universe
which allows them to harry
poor innocent lambs
and wondering if he
had not better
write to the paper
for as he said
for god s sake can t
something be done about

I figured I had to post something. This one has great phrasing combined with a pitch perfect point on politics and morality. And it’s fun to boot.