Academic journal article Parnassus : Poetry in Review

Floating in Stonington

Academic journal article Parnassus : Poetry in Review

Floating in Stonington

Article excerpt

In Central Asia you might not

become transparent but you could

become pnsmatic.

Robin Magowan

Fabled Cities of Central Asia

. . . Now and then

It is given to see clearly.

James Merrill, "Prism"

If words could be

won out of light via Merrill's prism,

small definite planet

dangling there

in his pink turret room

on Water Street in Stonington-

if,

only if.

Yet that whim

might lead one of us

toward a covenant.

So dim am I

at 8 a.m.,

I'll harely squint

at all the bent planes, pent

in JM's saturated, niggling pendant-

a suave cosmos

of clarity and intent.

If nowhere else, here

will line and line meet

incensed with light

until the dusk demands

its own embodiment.

If only optics could relax.

If only my words fought and slept

in a crystal.

Yet Tm too fractious,

structure's a rivet,

and my grandfather is

called Kupidlovski (no kidding).

So could I

climb up

Euclid's kneecap?

I, a cosmonaut?

One cannot,

like Wallace Stevens,

wear starched shirts

of blue or pink hue

to the office

(how rare of him, in the 1930s!). Nor can

I quite defend my mounting interest

in pockets the color of tropics:

puce, carnelian, lacewing.

But OK-OK, then. …

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