Notebook in the Rain Featuring Cabbages and Poems

Wallace Stevens’ blackbird is a real bird until it enters the mind. Once there it becomes human nature. A neat trick.

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What if I told you about the first window, the first one you ever saw? Would you trust me then?

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Spent his life climbing in and out of cars when all I wanted to do was sit beside a well.

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I love the word lucent perhaps because I’m blind. Don’t care so much about the damned flying buttresses.

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Help help help. Rain in my shoes.

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A good conversation yesterday with a first rate poet who still thinks poems make positive things happen in the world. He was happy so I didn’t say “well, cabbages do so also.” If I’m being scrupulous and nuanced I’ll admit even the finest cabbage will not linger in the mind like a poem. And then, voila! Ruth Stone’s superb poem “The Cabbage” sprang to mind!

You have rented an apartment.
You come to this enclosure with physical relief,
your heavy body climbing the stairs in the dark,
the hall bulb burned out, the landlord
of Greek extraction and possibly a fatalist.
In the apartment leaning against one wall,
your daughter’s painting of a large frilled cabbage
against a dark sky with pinpoints of stars.
The eager vegetable, opening itself
as if to eat the air, or speak in cabbage
language of the meanings within meanings;
while the points of stars hide their massive
violence in the dark upper half of the painting.
You can live with this.

**

Now the phrase “you can live with this” is central to poetry. Like Horace the poem says Seize the day, trusting little in the future. They do in fact mean the same thing.

Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

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