The Meadow

By Palmer, Michael | Chicago Review, Summer-Fall 1996 | Go to article overview

The Meadow


Palmer, Michael, Chicago Review


"The Meadow" appeared with two other poems by Michael Palmer in the Autumn 1977 issue. PALMER tells us:

"The Meadow" was written as homage both to Francis Ponge ("Le Pr") and to Robert Duncan ("Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow," the opening poem of his The Opening of the Field). A homage, then, to the "field of resistance and attraction," both linguistic and political, that poetry at its most challenging represents. Besides citing Ponge and Duncan, and deriving its form from the particular seriality of Ponge, the work quotes from von Franz's The Dance of the Bees as well as Geza Roheim's Magic and Schizophrenia, two books important to both Duncan and me. The poem or poem-sequence eventually appeared in Without Music (Black Sparrow Press, 1977), my third collection of poetry. I imagine it could well be read as a small, personal ars poetica for that moment in time.

The Meadow

Reassembling a meadow

The Meadow

Categorically he would have us believe

that this isn't a language after all that's been decoded

but something fixed in the purpose of its telling

The Meadow

A message so to speak limited to its function

The Meadow

. . .distinguished from a language precisely by the invariable correlation of its signs to the reality they signify

The Meadow

I roll off the word in the aging process

If I had a sister I wouldn't like her

(with good reason) Guests on the other hand

are always provided with fresh towels and a new bar of soap

If we go on writing books no one will notice

And if we stop two persons will notice

Each morning the daily paper will be left at your door

free of charge This is like a meadow

The Meadow

for Gottfried Benn

In the hours of naming the name of the hours

two letters to open things

but five to unfold them a double t for tongue

an embarkation an accounting

a sober falling backward (and almost upward)

with tongue doubled to no tongue

(and almost upward ('On the song's

forehead an occasional mirror would open'))

The Meadow

The mother explained that her four year old daughter had four imaginary friends. …

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