symptoms

A poem is remarkable when it’s written as a work of art. But what is art? No one really knows. I’m pretty sure, though, there are symptoms when someone is in the presence of written art.

A shadow falls across the reading path, a shadow made of complex tonalities. Breathing becomes suspenseful. The structure of usual consciousness begins to tilt and sway, is soon displaced by architectonics of the unconscious. In such poems, image and cadence transcend ego and reportage, artifice and confession. Time is made strange. In that experience of the poem as art, the oddest thing happens: beauty appears from out of nowhere. I suspect all of this occurs when the poet is generous and hospitable toward the reader, when the poem makes instant and continued sense. On rare occasions, even an amorous poem can be written art, when the context of its language is a heightened sense of being present.

I would like to thank Karla Bush for bringing this poem to my attention.

 

City Dusk
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
COME out . . . . out
To this inevitable night of mine
Oh you drinker of new wine,
Here’s pageantry . . . . Here’s carnival,
Rich dusk, dim streets and all
The whispering of city night . . . .

I have closed my book of fading harmonies,
(The shadows fell across me in the park)
And my soul was sad with violins and trees,
And I was sick for dark,
When suddenly it hastened by me, bringing
Thousands of lights, a haunting breeze,
And a night of streets and singing . . . .

I shall know you by your eager feet
And by your pale, pale hair;
I’ll whisper happy incoherent things
While I’m waiting for you there . . . .

All the faces unforgettable in dusk
Will blend to yours,
And the footsteps like a thousand overtures
Will blend to yours,
And there will be more drunkenness than wine
In the softness of your eyes on mine . . . .

Faint violins where lovely ladies dine,
The brushing of skirts, the voices of the night
And all the lure of friendly eyes . . . . Ah there
We’ll drift like summer sounds upon the summer air . . . .

F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

Posted by Tim Buck

 

 

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