Saturday, April 30, 2011

National Poetry Month - Day 30: Teacher Appreciation Day pt. 4: Susan Howe

from Speeches at the Barriers, the second part of the section of the book The Europe of Trusts (New Directions, 2002) titled Defenestration of Prague. Defenestration of Prague was originally published on its own by The Kulchur Foundation in 1983; The Europe of Trusts was originally published in 1990 by Sun & Moon Press.

from Speeches at the Barriers


Say that a ballad
wrapped in a ballad

a play of force and play

of forces
falling out sentences

(hollow where I can shelter)
falling out over

and gone
Dark ballad and dark crossing

old woman prowling
Genial telling her story

ideal city of immaculate beauty
invincible children

threshing felicity
For we are language     Lost

in language
Wind sweeps over the wheat

mist-mask on woods
belling hounds drowse

Iseult of Ireland
Iseult of the snow-white hand

Iseult seaward gazing
(pale secret fair)

allegorical Tristram
his knights are at war

Sleet whips the page

flying leaves and fugitive

Earth of ancient ballad
earth as thought of the sea

water's edge to say goodbye


Right or ruth

to the winds shall be thrown

words being wired or web

What (pine-cone wheat-ear
sea-shell) what

volumes of secrets to teach

Banks of wild bees in story
sing in no wood so on

Cornstalk and cornsheaf

prodigal benevolence
wealth washed up by the sea

What I find
signal seen by my eye

This winter falls froward

sound and suggestion speared

Free will in blind duel
sees in secret houses in sand

each day's last purpose
each day's firm progress

schoolgirls sleeping
schoolboys sleeping and stemmed

I will dream you
Draw you

dawn and horses of the sun
dawn galloped in greek before flame

fugitive dialogue of masterwork


sabbath and sweet spices
seaward so far and far

The woods seem to thicken

Merry men in Arden
(foresters feared foresters)

forage cold earth bescratcht

noise and noise pursuing power

Temper and order
The leashed stars kindle thin

Clear space of blackness

between us
(grey leaves grey gusts)

Dust people hover
Iceberg setting of universal

(The enemy is always riding by)

figural shadowing of invisible

tatterdemailion revel

houses containing vision
houses of recognition 

trim father nodding to trim mother

remembered name in Quiet
remembered precepts


Twenty lines of

boughs breaking into hindering

the thin thaw wanders off

October drawing to its long

late edge
Understanding of time endlessly

(trees hung with false dreams)

endlessly running on 

Distant forget
Tiny words of substance cross

the darkness

Who are they
(others between the trees)

falling into lines of human

Tread softly my misgiving heart

To chart all

Throw my body at the mark

Parents among savages
Their house was garlanded with dead

(fierceness of the young)

Then to move forward into unknown

Crumbling compulsion of syllables

Glass face
caressing the athwart night