I know I’m not supposed to be posting these poems that I wouldn’t even have happened upon if it hadn’t been national poetry month. I love this one. And its structure. The idea of enclosing a poem in a block of prose.
But I don’t like the way it begins. I don’t like thinking about illness or pain. I almost want to cut those first lines away and begin instead with the ones that remind me of opening my eyes to the red of tulip heads, falling now, petal by petal, and the stone Buddha resting on his block of wood among the stalks and fern.
I like the tall room opening onto another. The way he says that. The way he feels watched, as if someone is listening, critically, but not too. In this April room.
From Franz Wright’s Kindertotenwold
Each day I woke as it started to get dark and the pain came. Month
after month of this—who knows when I got well, the way you do,
whether you like it or not. With dawn now, risen from the rampage
of sleep, I am walking in the Lincoln woods. A single bird is
loudly singing. And I walk here as I always have, as though from
tall room to room in a more or less infinite house where the owner’s
not home but is watching me somehow, observing my behavior,
from behind the two-way mirror of appearances, I suppose,
and listening, somewhat critically, to what I am thinking. Not too,
however. At certain moments I could swear there is even a sense of
being liked, as sunlight changes swiftly, leaving, leaving and arriving again. A bird is chirping bitterly, as if these words were meant for me, as if their intent was within me, and will not speak. Nothing is left me of you.