19 October 2009

Charles Olson

[from Charles Olson's The Maximus Poems, University of California, 1983]

"at the boundary of the mighty world" H. (T) 620 foll.

                    Now Called Gravel Hill -- dogs eat

                    Gravelly hill 'father' Pelops otherwise known as
Mud Face founder of
Dogtown. That sort of 'reason': leave things alone.
As it is there isn't a single thing isn't an opportunity
for some 'alert' person, including practically everybody
by the 'greed', that, they are 'alive', therefore. Etc.
That, in fact, there are 'conditions'. Gravelly Hill
or any sort of situation for improvement, when
the Earth was properly regarded as a 'garden
tenement messuage orchard and if this is nostalgia
let you take a breath of April showers
let's us reason how is the dampness in your
nasal passage -- but I have had lunch
in this 'pasture' (B. Ellery to
                    George Girdler Smith
                          1799, for
                            £ 150)

'the town'
sitting there like
the Memphite lord of
all Creation

with my back -- with Dogtown
over the Crown of
gravelly hill

It is not bad
to be pissed off

where there is any
condition imposed, by whomever, no matter how close

quid pro quo
get out. Gravelly Hill says
leave me be, I am contingent, the end of the world
is the borders
of my being

I can even tell you
where I run out; and you can find
out. I lie here
so many feet up
from the end of an old creek
which used to run off
the Otter ponds. There is a bridge
of old heavy slab stones
still crossing the creek on
the 'Back Road' about three rods
from where I do end northerly, and from my Crown
you may observe, in fact Jeremiah Millett's
generous pasture
which, in fact, in the first 'house'
(of Dogtown) is a part of the slide of
my back, to the East: it isn't so decisive
how one thing does end
and another begin to be very obviously dull about it
I should like to take the time to be dull
there is obviously much to be done and the fire department
rushed up here one day -- they called it
Bull Field in the newspaper -- when just that
side of me I am talking about,
which belonged to Jeremiah Millett
and rises up rather sharply
-- it became Mr Pulsifer's and then,
1799, the property of the town
of Gloucester -- was burned off.
My point is, the end of myself,
happens, on the east side (Erechthonios)
to be the beginning of another set
of circumstance. The road,
which has gone aroundme, swings
just beyond where Jeremiah Millett had his house
and there's a big rock about ends my being,
properly, swings
to the northeast, and makes its way
generally staying northeast in direction
to Dogtown's Square or the rear of
William Smallman's
house where rocks pile up
darkness, in a cleft in the earth
made of a perfect pavement
                    Dogtown Square
of rocks alone March, the holy month
                     (the holy month,
of nothing but black granite turned
every piece,
downward, to darkness,
to chill and darkness. From which the height above it even
in such a fearful congery
with a dominant rock like a small mountain
above the Hellmouth the back of Smallmans is
that this source and end of the way from the town into
the woods is only -- as I am the beginning, and Gaia's
child -- katavothra. Here you enter
darkness. Far away from me, to the northeast,
and higher than I, you enter
the Mount,
which looks merry,
and you go up into it
feels the very same as the corner
where the rocks all are
even smoking a cigarette on the mount
nothing around you, not even the sky
relieves the pressure of this declivity
which is so rich and packed.
It is Hell's mouth
where Dogtown ends
(on the lower
of two roads into
the woods.
I am the beginning
on this side
nearest the town
and it -- this paved hole in the earth
is the end (boundary

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