The Landing in Deucalion

SCREENED by the next few decades from our vision
Their image, none the less, is fairly clear,
Emerging from the air-lock into light
Sharp, unfamiliar in its composition,
From cold stars and a small blue flaming sun
As glints of racing Phobos disappear.

Leaving the rocket pointing at that sky
Their steps and sight turn to the chosen spot
Through this thin air through which the thin winds keen;
The valves hiss in their helmets as they cross
The crumbling sand towards the belt of green
Where long-sought strangeness will reveal -- what?

And why this subject should be set to verse
Is only partly in what fuels their hearts
More powerful than those great atomic drives
(Resembling as it does the thrust of poetry --
The full momentum of the poets' whole lives)
-- Its consummation is yet more like art's:

For as they reach that unknown vegetation
Their thirst is given satisfaction greater
Than ever found but when great arts result;
Not just new detail or a changed equation
But freshly flaming into all the senses
And from the full field of the whole gestalt.
And so I sing them now, as others later.

____________________
1
Deucalionis Regio, the area to the south of the Sinus Sabaeus, on Mars.

-13-

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Poems
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • I - Persons and Places 1
  • Nantucket 3
  • Guided Missiles Experimental Range 4
  • To a Girl Who Dreamt About a Poem 12
  • The Landing in Deucalion 13
  • Adriatic 14
  • A Woman Poet 16
  • The Death of Hart Crane 19
  • Anthéor 20
  • II - Arts and Contexts 23
  • Poem for Julian Symons 25
  • The Rokeby Venus 26
  • Significant Form 27
  • A Painting by Paul Klee 28
  • Dédée D'Anvers 29
  • A Level of Abstraction 30
  • Reading Poetry After a Quarrel 33
  • The Psychokinetic Experiments of Professor Rhine 34
  • Epistemology of Poetry 35
  • Mating Season 36
  • Humanities 37
  • Another Klee 38
  • 'Head of a Faun' by Salvator Rosa 39
  • A Problem 40
  • III - War and After 43
  • Possilipo: 1944 45
  • Love and War 46
  • Poem in 1944 47
  • Caserta 48
  • A Minor Front 49
  • Arion 51
  • On the Danube 52
  • Lament for a Landing Craft 54
  • IV - The Balkans 55
  • Sunset Under Vitosha - For T. 57
  • Near Sliven 58
  • Lamartine at Philippopolis 59
  • Pliska 60
  • Aegean 61
  • Messemvria at Noon 62
  • By Rail Through Istria 64
  • In the Rhodope 66
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