The Collected Longer Poems

The Collected Longer Poems

The Collected Longer Poems

The Collected Longer Poems

Excerpt

The Homestead Called Damascus was written before I was twenty years old. The two final pieces, addenda to The Heart's Garden, The Garden's Heart were finished after the book had gone to the publisher. Written between five and ten years apart, all the sections of this book now seem to me almost as much one long poem as do The Cantos or Paterson. The plot remains the same -- the interior and exterior adventures of two poles of a personality. The brothers Sebastian and Thomas are still, really, arguing with each other right to the last page, and the third figure -- the anonymous observer -- is still making wry comments. Partly, each of the separate long poems is a philosophical revery -- but a revery in dialogue in which philosophies come and go. The sections in The Phoenix and the Tortoise and The Dragon and the Unicorn which expound a systematic view of life are dramatic dialogue, not the sole exposition of the author, and always they are contradicted by the spokesman for the other member of the polarity. If there is any dialectic resolution, it occurs each time in the unqualified, transcendent experience which usually ends each long poem. The ending of A Prolegomenon to a Theodicy may be more conventionally mystical, but after this the lesson has been learned, the ladder has been climbed, and so is kicked away. The recurring word is, "visions are a measure of the defect of vision."

In my Collected Shorter Poems are some that are long but not "longer" which well could go in temporal sequence with those in this book. The Thin Edge of Your Pride, the story When You Asked for It Did You Get It, Organon, Ice Shall Cover Nineveh, and even Past and Future Turn About, a pendant to The Phoenix and the Tortoise, just as sections of the long poems, especially of The Dragon and the Unicorn, stand as "shorter poems" in their own . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.