after Cavalcanti My donna prays, 'Say' - such is my volition, dearly! 'of one accident, which so vents itself, ferociously to alter old Guido'. It's amatory. Ah, more, eh? Some chill nay- sayers even perceive it clearly and I'm at present cognisant their old hope's gone where old hopes go. Old story!
Whencever they import their cognisance I sense (no Nature-demonstration meant, o no, no talent to die!) no will to prove by exhaustion Love's bed here, nor its prime-mover's; nor to test its virtue, lack of impotence, essence, or what indeed it's sent to do, or bent on. I can't say, and you've no stylus for its groove.
It plants its scars in memory, and they're its state. It's form? Wait. Make it silken spume spilled out from dark which charts a path from Mars. And Love, what's more, has been created! is sensate! Takes from the soul its costume, its desire from the heart!
It starts in visible form, and then intends to befriend all feasible intellects (those which have subjects!) It has a home, but fidgets - like as not will roam about a bit, though of course it won't (in any sense) descend... It stays resplendent in its eternal aspect - not for our delectation, but as a comb for thought... the kind of thing you won't catch in a poem.
It's not virtue, though, but the quested source of Perfection (which it's treason to offend). It isn't rational: you just sense it. I did! It's past solution: forces Invention to be Reason's end. Chooses irrationally. Feeds on weakness. Why did
it ever decide, though, to hang around with Death? If Love's dance should find its course impeded, if it's conceded that the way's not blocked by some natural enemy, maybe Perfection's fluffed a shibboleth. 'Chance' doesn't govern the life you lead. If your needs outrun your authority, don't blame the dice. Love spoiled your party.
It comes to the hand when Want is a giant out of all measure - i.e. Nature's - turned. It's never adorned in poseur's pleats but sweeps the land, a psychedelic plant (unstable figure), features grinned or gurned, burnt- on by pokers, planed back off in sheets.
The gentle brave find it their treasure-trove, the glove to keep their quality unfrayed. It's sprayed the Ego down a groundless hole where flames of thirst are fuelled by the soul. You can't imaging anything of Love till it's moved you. Time will see you preyed on. Love was not made to bend to a slight goal: it can display surprising self-control.
One look is dragged from a recognised complexion: to Delight, it seems right - yes, certain to entertain all manner of half-grown hopes. It's not in the bag yet - and on reflection it might be better to remain... no, here we go again. The Twilight Zone!
You'll never find it in a living face: there's grace, but not there. You do well, if the eyes you trust aren't physical, but those transcending dust. There is no shade, but essence fixed in space, light racing out from darkness, and despair defeated, Hell undone, unrusting honour preserved by Love, among the just.
The world's your blotter, canzon: your structure's so ornate that, late or soon, a legion will sense what Reason made you, not what committee brayed you.
after Ezra Pound and Louis Zukofsky
Published in Between Cup and Lip. Written 1991. Forgive lazy web format job…