Did the great poet ever dance
to spirits rising from fiddlewood,
while vodka was overbrimming
with many voices of counterpoint?
Or was he coiled in quiet observation,
sitting at a corner table in shadows,
pensive and clear on the large night
that grew sideways from a calendar?
And into that expansion of meanings
did sadness leave footsteps as words
or did the great poet trace stoically
the shimmering form of an ironic god?
Irony takes the edge off anguish.
If not dampened by vodka or broken tears,
did that poet of a mirror's glassy hysterias
and of organic moods within solid surfaces,
of shapes congealing into suggestive light...
did that poet instead hollow out a space
to catch subtle moments of clear trance,
mysterious results of human observation?
I think the poet indeed looked mysteriously
and in looking hollowed out a special space.
Then comes the compulsion of later night,
an uncoiling of impressions into his poems.
Great talent does not plan or unfold a map.
He flings his words like flat dynamic stones,
skipping them across the wet-curling fabric
of atavistic waters, and sometimes they leap
off the rippling page, later sinking to depths.
I enter again only to marvel at sunken depths
and the hollowing out of such subtle dimensions,
of quiet observation and great sober feelings.
Behind the words I hear muted strains of tangos,
almost superfluous yet contributing absurd spice
to the places where the poet sits remembering
not days but lustrous angles of simply being.
Copyright 2011 -- Tim Buck