The archivist has been most remiss of late, plus under medication, but no excuses. It's more than past time for a new selection for the Off the Shelf Page, and it's a good time for one, as I still am a bit groggy and not up for much in the writing department.
This month, what's left of it, I've chosen a moody and bizarre poem from American novelist and poet Stephen Crane called On the Desert. It makes heavy use of repetition, without rhyme or a true refrain, and for me is one of those poems that give the effect of being in someone else's nightmare, a sensation of grue and creeping darkness. There's a bio of Crane here at The Poetry Foundation for those who'd like to know more about him.
You can read On the Desert here: Off the Shelf Archive for September 2012
And to make room for the current offering, last month's selection, Beyond Love by Octavio Paz, is archived below for a final reading. As always feel free to comment on either poem here, as comments are disabled off the main page :
~by Octavio Paz
Everything menaces us:
time that divides into fragments
who I was
from who I will be,
like a machete does a snake:
consciousness, transparency transfixed,
the blind look of watching yourself look;
words, grey gloves, mental dust on the grass,water, skin;
our names, that rise up between you and me,
walls of emptiness that no trumpet can fell.
Neither dreams peopled with broken images,
nor delirium and its prophetic foam,
nor love with its teeth and claws, suffices.
on the frontiers of being and time,
a greater life than life beckons us.
Outside the night breathes, it expands,
full of great hot leaves,
of mirrors in combat:
fruit, talons, eyes, foliage,
backs that glisten,
bodies that push their way through other bodies.
Lie down here on the edge of so much foam,
of so much life that does not know and surrenders:
you too belong to the night.
Stretch out, whiteness that breathes,
throb, oh portioned star,
bread that tips the balance to the side of the dawn,
pause of blood between this time and another, without measure.
From El Girasol, Poems 1943-1948
© Octavio Paz
Image: Blue Dahlias,
© joy ann jones 2012