Robinson Jeffers (Forerunners)

Originally posted on Underfoot Poetry:
Remember when poets made the cover of Time? It’s too bad the reputation of?Robinson Jeffers has pretty much disappeared; but read any of the following poems aloud and see if you don’t hear something brutal, beautiful, and essential. While he?seems to have staked his reputation on the longer narratives that pretty well fill his Collected Poetry, it’s his small, powerful lyrics that strike me as being as good as anything ever written. INSCRIPTION FOR A GRAVESTONE I am not dead, I have only become inhuman: That is to say, Undressed myself of laughable prides and infirmities, But not as a man Undresses to creep into bed, but like an athlete Stripping for the race. The delicate ravel of nerves that made me a measurer Of certain fictions Called good and evil; that made me contract with pain And expand with pleasure; Fussily adjusted like a little electroscope: That’s gone, it is true; (I never miss it; if the universe does, How easily replaced!) But all the rest is heightened, widened, set free. I admired the beauty While I was human, now I am part of the beauty. I wander in the air, Being mostly gas and water, and flow in the ocean; Touch you and Asia At the same moment; have a hand in the sunrises And the glow of this grass. I left the light precipitate of ashes to earth For a love-token. ?…

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Kitty Coles (6 Poems)

Originally posted on Underfoot Poetry:
Black Moon Season for walking out into white frost under the black moon. Feeling the grass bend, the cold enfold flesh, the dark draw closer. Scenting the wet earth, lying fallow: ice has its own smell. Tasting night on the tongue, cobwebby, thin, and the mouth’s own heat. Watching the breath steam, cloudy, abundant, twining with old leaves. Hearing the silence staking its own claim. Then – the keen owl cry sadly to fierce stars as once the wolves cried, walking here also. ? ? Daylight Fox We watch her circle the house, crouched low to the ground. Her hollow flanks flutter, in out, in out, and her fur, black-tipped, as if charred, shivers with them. She has sensed the warmth of breath, the throb of a heart. She has scented the rust of blood, its salt abundance. Her doggish ears tense forward. Her gilt eyes narrow. Her pulse comes fast and feet shift slowly, slowly. And we, behind the window, observe her progress, her imperceptible and ceaseless movement, and wonder where the thing she stalks is waiting, living and trembling, waiting for its death. ? ? The Girl Of Wood A quiet girl, this one: sometimes, she mutters, hushy and breathless, gibberish of her own, or groans deeply, on an autumn evening, her feet encased by damp, her hair wind-blown. A sturdy girl, this one, phlegmatic, stocky, her movements reluctant, her broad feet planted…

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Michael McGill (5 Poems)

Originally posted on Underfoot Poetry:
Documentary A woman in a documentary is frozen in my mind. She stands behind an asylum window and whispers in a foreign language. The subtitle below her reads, “Please let me out of here.” She is framed by the subtitle; framed by the edit of her portrayal. Finally, she is framed by the asylum itself.…

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Anglo-Saxon Poetry (Forerunners)

Originally posted on Underfoot Poetry:
Many thanks to David Cooke for contributing this week’s Forerunner, and it’s quite a treat. Below he has recorded a good portion of two Anglo-Saxon poems, “The Ruin” and “The Seafarer” in the original Old English. Also included is the original text, an English translation and, following “The Ruin,” David Cooke’s response to the poem,…

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