29 December 2009

Joshua Poteat

[from Joshua Poteat's Illustrating the Machine That Makes the World: From J. G. Heck's 1851 Pictorial Archive of Nature and Science,University of Georgia, 2009]

Illustrating the theory of winds
             [PLATE 23, FIG. 62]

I mix opium with bear fat and seed for the butcher birds

             to give myself laughter. They shit themselves,

their tongues slight and pink, a grub could do better.

                         It is more suitable than flying for them,

it is a gift. Summer, and the chatter does not cease.

             Puffbird, moorcock, wheatear, willow wren,

I do not hate them. I hold them close to count the mites
                         in their eyes. Each flight is the source of what
                         shines.

Each wing slung in the winds stills the winds.

             The stars come out. We can do no better than this,

our lives are our own. On another coast, I'm sure
                         there is a swallow in a nest of moss, so alive the dust

lies quiet against the fever. The grasses breathing beneath

             are my witness, the bees tapping the window glass, my loves.

27 December 2009

Amy Gerstler

[from Amy Gerstler's Dearest Creature,Penguin, 2009]

For My Niece Sidney, Age Six [excerpt]

Did you know that boiling to death
was once a common punishment
in England and parts of Europe?
It's true. In 1542 Margaret Davy,
a servant, was boiled for poisoning
her employer. So says the encyclopedia.
That's the way I like to start my day:
drinking hot black coffee and reading
the 1910 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Its pages are tissue thin and the covers
rub off in your hands in dirt-colored
crumbs (the kind a rubber eraser
makes), but the prose voice is all knowing
and incurably sure of itself. My 1956
World Book runs to 18 volumes and has red
pebbly covers. It begins at "aardvark"
and ends with "zygote." I used to believe
you could learn everything you'd ever
need by reading encyclopedias. Who
was E. B. Browning? How many Buddhists
in Burma? What is Byzantine Art? Where
do bluebells grow? These days, I own five
sets of encyclopedias from various
eras. None of them ever breathed
a word about the fact that this humming,
aromatic, acid-flashback, pungent, tingly
fingered world is acted out differently
for each one of us by the puppet theater
of our senses. Some of us grow up doing
credible impressions of model citizens
(though sooner or later hairline
cracks appear in our facades). The rest
get dubbed eccentrics, unnerved and undone
by other people's company, for which we
nevertheless pine. Curses, outbursts,
and distracting chants simmer all day
long in the Crock-Pots of our heads.
Encyclopedias contain no helpful entries
on conducting life's business while the ruckus
in your skull keeps competing for your
attention; or on the tyranny of the word
"normal" — its merciless sway over those
of us bedeviled and obsessed,
hopeless at school dances, repelled by
mothers' suffocating hugs, yet entranced
by foul-smelling chemistry experiments,
or eager to pass sleepless nights seeking
rhymes for "misspent" and "grimace."
Dear girl, your jolly blond one-year-old
brother, who adults adore, fits into
the happy category of souls mostly at home
in the world. He tosses a fully clothed doll
into the inflatable wading pool in your
backyard (splash!) and laughs maniacally
at his own comic genius. You sit alone,
twenty feet from everyone else, on a stone
bench under a commodious oak, reading aloud,
gripping your book like the steering wheel
of a race car you're learning to drive.
Complaints about you are already filtering
in. . . .

Phebe Davidson

[from Phebe Davidson's Seven Mile, Main Street Rag, 2009]

Don't Nobody Know a Thing

The sun had mostly dropped when she walked into the field, her shadow coming before. She stopped behind the straw man and pressed her body close, stretching her arms to either side as if she would measure — shoulder-breadth, hand-span, height — then she reached her arms around his chest and tucked one hand in his shirt. They were both lit up by low, late sun. Both of them outlined in fire. I heard her sigh two times, no more. One time was heavy and full of woe and one like a woman come home. I never moved nor never spoke a word. Don't nobody know a thing but me. Don't nobody know a thing.

25 December 2009

April Bernard

[from April Bernard's Romanticism,Norton 2009]

Essen und Trinken
from Sonnenwendenlieder
(Solstice Songs)

Love breaks me like a corn cake
in a boy's mouth.

I am eating my own heart but I would like to wash it first,
raccoon-like, in the Rhine.

I offered him our bloods' river to drown in
but he found the metaphor distasteful. When did I learn

to make fun of pain, my closed throat,
the disease of my longing that makes it impossible

even to suck the ice chips shoveled
between dry lips with a long-handled spoon?

No river would oblige, in any case,
on this continent or another.

Linda Lee Harper

[from Linda Lee Harper's Small Waves,Finishing Line Press, 2009]

Philomela

has company on the Amazon river, panhandles
among visitors slumming the rain forest
where she fled after the family scandals.
She'd take in more money if at the request

of the turistas she'd tell her tale,
but like the xenopus, queer creatures
that also lack tongues, morphemes, wails,
her celebrity remains her lucrative feature.

Sometimes you can catch her in a camp
store bar or down river in huts
natives build like movie sets, fires damp
where smoke, white as split Brazil nuts,

intoxicates the sky with hallucinogenic
vapors she imbibes, repudiates speech,
its loss, the silence, the impolitic lunatic
who hacked song and language beyond reach,

her compensation a spirit with wings,
an afterlife where even her river, sings.

24 December 2009

Libby Bernardin

[from Libby Bernardin's The Book of Myth, South Carolina Poetry Initiative, 2009]

Vespers

Day slips into the place of listening:
Image against sun — a small bird,
forelimbs flowing like a monastic silver-
tinged garment in prayer.

On the street, closing sounds of day:
two boys edge the corner, cleats scuffing
the pavement, soccer gear in arms,
then Meg out of her house, calling
retina is okay, eye healing.
The fenced-in sheltie stands, stretches
and yawns as the boys pass, their two
heads together, celebrating themselves.

Past the fountain now, to Wheeler hill,
Sun magenta, those wings — silver and
lonely — on the wing with sun in a sea
of nearly still light, folding into night.

conceptual poetry

Video & audio from Conceptual Poetry and its Others, a 2008 conference held @ the University of Arizona Poetry Center.

Participants include Charles Alexander, Charles Bernstein, Caroline Bergvall, Christian Bok, Laynie Browne, Graca Capinha, David-Baptiste Chirot, Barbara Cole, Wystan Curnow, Danielle Beazer Dubrasky, Craig Dworkin, Carlos Gallego, Kenneth Goldsmith, Marie Smart, Jesper Olsson, Marjorie Perloff, Vanessa Place, Brian Reed, Linda Reinfeld, Cole Swensen, & Hugh Tribbey.

22 December 2009

Rachel Zucker

[from Rachel Zucker's Museum of Accidents,Wave Books, 2009]

Sunday Morning [excerpt]

Last night I woke up sweating and begged you
to open the open window and threw my damp
nightclothes to the floor none of which woke you.
Now the bedroom is crisp and I'm almost too big
to be on my back like this reading. Thinking you'll
touch me. Would you care to? Thirteen years later
a soft body under the sheets in a cold room
isn't a recipe for anything necessarily. The boys
are all set up with TV, my book's a decoy, and
a few weeks ago you said you liked
my hair. Can a woman this pregnant be shy?

Light shines in through the windows around
the taped-up shade samples. Maybe I should iChat you:
sex? That worked once. Or phone-to-phone
page you or text you: my dragon tattoo
wont last thru another shower.
What if you
wanted to lick it? What if you wanted to bite
my inner thigh? What if you wanted to take the book
from my hands and rip it down the spine?

Your study is three rooms away but I know you can hear
the Spanish music pumping from the car stopped
at the light, eleven floors down. What if sound
condenses as it rises to meet us? What if you wanted
to bend me over the bed, belly be damned,
and that desire, three rooms away, was a sharpened
arrow by the time it reached me?

Our son is whistling Suzuki Violin Book Volume One
just outside the bedroom door, which is my punishment
for teaching him to whistle. I hear the toilet flush and wonder
if our younger one will wash with soap and water. What if
you saw me right now and said, If you move I'll kill you,
you're so beautiful
—? What if my darkened nipples
intrigued you? I just read "touch the door like it's
someone's wife" in the book I'm reading,
which you didn't write. One of the samples snaps
against the window on his Scotch-taped hinge. You're
in the kitchen putting something ceramic on the stone-topped
counter. What if you wanted to drag me into our walk-in closet?
What if you wanted to press me up against the front door?
What if you wanted to disturb my sleep? Why didn't you eat
your orange slices?
you ask the boys, while unpacking Friday's lunch.

Then all three handsets in the bedroom ring at once,
you come in to answer, see me reading, hold out the phone—
I'm sleeping, I say, hoping you get my meaning. You
don't. Instead return with the boys' leftover breakfast
and eat it lying next to me. I read you the poem about
touching the door. Isn't it good? I ask. I've got a bad feeling
you're going to want one of the pots in the dishwasher
in the next twenty minutes but they're just not available,
you say.

I can almost see you through the open bathroom door,
through the polka-dotted shower curtain, but mostly
I see your bent elbow when you raise your hand to wash
your hair. When I touch myself the baby quite politely
goes to sleep. Then I'm a belly but no one inside me.
What if you didn't want me to put clothes on? What if
you wanted to sleep with my breast in your hand? What if
you liked poetry? What if you said, There's a closet
in the basement near the laundry room—meet me
there. . . .

Frederick Barthelme

[from Frederick Barthelme's Waveland,Doubleday, 2009]

You get to a point and things that used to mean something don't mean what they used to mean. The game changes. You don't want what you used to want. You don't care about what you used to care about. You don't need what you used to need. The whole world becomes a backdrop, a kind of cartoonish painting at the rear of the stage to which you pay not much attention. You only half listen to what people say, you only half see what's out the window. Sometimes you see people in stores and restaurants and you can't understand how they got there, what they think they're doing, why they're got-up so, why they're trying so hard, what they're after, what they hope for, what they wish. It's impossible to figure these things out and you don't care anyway. You drift through the days. They come and go.

It's funny. You can still go through the motions; you can still do what you've always done — go to work, go to dinner, talk to people — but it rolls off you. If you're lucky you take up with somebody like Greta. She's charming and funny, and you're happy to have a companion whose view of things is not altogether different from your own. You live in her garage apartment for a couple of months, and you imagine things happening, and you manage to make friends with her to a sufficient degree so that you are invited to move into the house. You take up this new position with enthusiasm, but even that is a little manufactured. You don't know what she thinks or what she is planning or what she is looking for or why she's invited you in; but you go, nonetheless, and accept the room that is offered and arrange its parts elegantly, simply. You try not to detract. You try to listen, but sometimes you just slide away in your mind.

Sometimes, when you are putting your arms around this new woman it seems as if you are remembering your role, your lines, as if your ability to put your arms around someone is somehow reduced. Sometimes, when you touch the skin of her face, it only reminds you of having touched the cheek of a person you were once crazy about. You smell her hair. You shut your eyes, smelling her hair. You hold her close, her back to you, smelling her hair. Your eyes closed, your hands on her forearms, on the backs of her hands. You feel her weight against you, and you remember when you felt the weight of someone you were desperate about. In short, you mimic yourself and you wonder, Does she know? It doesn't destroy your connection to her, which is quiet, genuine, caring. Comforting, but lacking, perhaps, in intensity. The wind doesn't mean everything the way it once did. The rain is not shot through with the richest melancholy; it is just rain. This is a substantial loss.

21 December 2009

Ronald Moran

[from Ronald Moran's Waiting, Clemson University Digital, 2009]

English 101

On the first day of a class I never taught,
I asked the students if they ever played softball,
and when no one raised a hand, I told them we'll

play softball next class, and to prove how athletic
I was, I started to throw a ball that wasn't in my hand
and pulled up short, as if throwing nothing

through the air proved to be too complicated, but then
a ball appeared, miraculously, a small ball,
like a golf ball but softer and looking like a baseball,

and, after I threw it, it crossed a body of water,
as on TV when Tiger Woods or someone else hits
a golf ball and it crosses the ocean, landing in Barcelona

or on a back street of Paris and a group of young boys
marvel at its bouncing on the cobblestones,
never coming to a rest, and while mine never went

that far it did glide over a creek like a Frisbee.
Someone in class said that didn't show him much,
so I tried to find a field to play softball at a school

I had never been to before, and even if I found the field,
how could we get there, play the game, and get back
to our next classes in time? Somehow I ended up

with a 10:48 appointment to see the dean, as the first
or last resort, and when I asked his receptionist, How
long is my appointment?
she replied, It's over at 11:00,

which isn't much time to clear up the logistics,
or to ask where's a softball field and my classroom,
which I never found, but my ball just kept on gliding.

20 December 2009

19 December 2009

Keith Waldrop

[section FIVE of "Shipwreck in Haven" from Keith Waldrop's Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy,University of California, 2009]

after this, the cold more intense, and the night comes rapidly up
·
angels in the fall
·
around a tongue of land, free from trees
·
awakened by feeling a heavy weight on your feet, something that seems inert and motionless
·
awestruck manner, as though you expected to find some strange presence behind you
·
coming through the diamond-paned bay window of your sanctum
·
a crimson-flowered silk dressing gown, the folds of which I could now describe
·
deathly pallor overspreading
·
describing the exact nature of your nightly troubles
·
discomfort at seeing a surface spoiled
·
echo and foretaste
·
the entrance blocked, not only by brambles and nettles, which have to be beaten aside, but by piles of faggots, old boxes, and even refuse
·
expecting every moment to see the door open and give admission to the original of my detested portrait
·
fantastic wigs, costumes, other disguises
·
filling up the width of the street
·
frequent tussles
·
the glitter of silver and glass and the subdued lights and cackle of conversation around the dinner table
·
high-backed carved oak chair
·
I have omitted in my narration . . .
·
in a great raftered hall
·
in a tableau vivant, as an angel, sewn up in tights, with wings on your back
·
light up your candle and open the window
·
lines of your dress, with a hint of underthings
·
looking up, our problem still unsolved
·
luxurious with heavy silk and rich rococo furniture, all of it much soiled with age
·
many questions about the stars, of which you gave me my first intelligent idea
·
meanwhile, the snow, with ominous steadiness, and the wind falls
·
my weakness for the Ypsilanti Waltz, which I did regard as the most wonderful of compositions
·
neat strip of fine turf edging the road and running back until the poison of the dead beech leaves kills it under the trees
·
never venturing farther than a sandy beach, but losing everything at sea
·
not crawling or creeping, but spreading
·
not just out of repair, but in a condition of decay
·
only a foul trick after all
·
on the face of the judge in the picture, a malignant smile
·
profound impressions of unearthly horror
·
rambles and adventures among the rocky banks
·
the rope of the great alarm bell on the roof, which hangs down
·
rough horseplay and quarrels
·
sashes that splinter at a touch
·
the serpentlike form of the seraphim
·
something uncertain at work among the monuments
·
the thing on the bed, slowly shifting
·
till this particular day has passed through all the seasons of the year
·
the vicar, who used to tell us the story of Robinson Crusoe
·
waves and their whelps
·
while with a sickening revulsion after my terror, I drop half fainting across the end of the bed
·
with a pair of great greenish eyes shining dimly out within the lattice fronts
·
with painted carvings of saints and devils, a small galvanic battery, and a microscope

John Berryman

[from John Berryman's The Dream Songs,Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1969]

228

The Father of the Mill surveyed his falls,
his daughterly race, his flume, his clover, privy, of all
his waterfall, found well.
Rain fell in June like . . . grace? One flopping trout
(a rainbow) make his lunch who took his bait.
Pitch, & Fate flout.

Each cat should seizing private waterfall,
or rent, as Henry do. Seizure is gall,
I guess. Yes;
we nothing own. But we are lying owned.
When last his burning publisher telephoned,
he dying to confess.

The father and the mill purveyed their falls:
grist, grist! Still, stamping on Fate,
he lauded his lady;
ladies. Waders were treble at his end
or ends. The fool danced in the waterfall
losing his footing, ready.

18 December 2009

Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon

[from Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon's Open Interval,University of Pittsburgh, 2009]

The Buffet Dream

In the buffet dream this is what I want—;
Everything I can swallow:
What is hot—: What is cooked—: What is sweet—:
What will fit on my plate—: What will drive me—from sleep
with longing—: This is hunger:—
before the first bite crosses my tongue, waking.

The colors of the dream are there at seventeen, each day waking
to promise of silk and open sky—: the gift of truancy: who doesn't
    want
flutter and slap of wind and parachute, foreign men, falling from
    Icarus' heights? A girl's hunger
for their sweat and the vowels they swallow:
Their neon canopies, their endless drifting, the pull of sleep:—
I could taste everything: the whole of this world: the idea—sweet

as leaving home, as being where I am not supposed to be, sweet
as desserts in the dream—: silver bowls of fresh berries and
    zabaglione:— as waking,
just once, to bright lemon tarts with single sprigs of mint someplace
    where sleep
has wrought miracles. Seventeen—: coarse salt of want
on my tongue, I set out for the territories, hope to swallow
all, at least—: every drop zone I can find—: a black girl on the river
    Hunger:

—as free as that. I cannot leave this river—: Hunger
snakes along its slumbery route, slow as sweet
syrup, seeks low ground, overflows, swallows
a field, seeps into its green and makes it swampy, waking
the sticky, spongy air, summer's silty edge, wanton,
dripping:— a humid decade's night sweat, a constant of sleep,

until I am in Africa. In Cameroon, une voluntaire, sleep-
deprived, listening to the dogs scratch hunger
out on Bafoussam's abundant trash piles, I want
the nineteen-year-old boy I snatched like a muddy reed from some
    sweet
yielding bank, four years back, dreaming satiety, waking,
twenty-eight, purple-mouthed from boxed wine and desire. Swallow

the St. Johns, the Susquehanna, swallow the Maury, the Lom and
    Djerem, swallow
the Atlantic you crossed chasing bright-dyed dandelion seeds to find
    sleep
a glass display case of napoleons and air-pies, an éclair filled with
    waking.
Empty-handed on its ever-rocking water bed, hunger
waits you out, weights you. It's possible you've tasted every sweet
nothing your mind can offer, that delicious list you wanted

licked down to nothing, swallowed. Freedom—: the fancy-cakes
    hunger
designed, decked out in fondant ribbons. Sleep: a night's mouth filled
    with something sweet:—
what each morning, waking, you know you will still want.

17 December 2009

Walt Whitman

[from David S. Reynolds's Walt Whitman's America: A Cultural Biography,Alfred A. Knopf, 1995]

That the middle-class Victorian parlor could accept naturally Whitman's "Calamus" poems is suggested by Ernest Rhys's Leaves of Grass: The Poems of Walt Whitman (1886) and Arthur Stedman's 1892 collection of Whitman's Selected Poems. Like [Elizabeth Porter] Gould, these other two editors carefully excluded the "amative" poems and passages they thought might offend middle-class readers. To avoid sex, Rhys omitted "Song of Myself" and all the "Children of Adam" poems. ("I am willing," wrote Whitman of the Rhys volume, despite his distaste for expurgation.) Stedman, likewise, omitted "Children of Adam" and heavily edited "Song of Myself." Both volumes emphasized the Whitman poems that were safely religious and patriotic. Significantly, many of the "Calamus" poems were deemed conventional enough to remain in these scrubbed, polite volumes. In fact, Rhys included nearly the whole "Calamus" sequence, and Stedman selected several, including the loving "When I Heard at the Close of Day" and "Whoever You Are Holding My Hand." That is, comradely love was still considered close to mainstream conventions. . . .

The term "homosexual," introduced in English in the 1890s and not used in the New York Times until 1926, did not gain widespread cultural use until the 1930s. In the meantime, the idea of sexual identity was embattled. Some who discussed Whitman in this context did not connect him with homosexuality. His close friend Edward Carpenter, who regarded the term "homosexual" as a monstrous combination of Greek and Latin (he preferred "homogenic"), believed, like [John Addington] Symonds, that Whitman was attempting to restore pure, chivalric Greek love as a social institution. To clear Whitman of what he called "morbidity," he cited a comment by Dr. Beverly Drinkard that Whitman had "the most natural habits, bases, and organization he had ever seen."

The British sexologist Havelock Ellis, who corresponded with Whitman and knew his work well, saw in Whitman, a "latent and unconscious" homosexual instinct that was so handled that it could provide a model for sexual inverts. In his book Sexual Inversion Ellis argued that reading Whitman could help make an invert "healthy, self-restrained, and self-respecting," teaching "dignity, temperance, even chastity" like the Greeks. Ellis wrote: "The 'manly love' celebrated by Walt Whitman furnishes a wholesome and robust ideal to the invert who is insensitive to normal ideals." With Whitman's help, Ellis, the invert can learn "self-restraint and self-culture," particularly important because, in Ellis's eyes, "it is the ideal of chastity, rather than of normal sexuality, which the congenital invert should hold before his eyes."

When funneled back into medical circles, then, Whitman's treatment of same-sex love was seen mainly as a means of "controlling" or "elevating" homosexual desires instead of giving them unbridled expression.

09 December 2009

torqued enjambment

[consideration of a William Carlos Williams poem from "Syntax in Rutherford," a chapter in Hugh Kenner's The Pound Era, University of California, 1971]

Any word at all:

              cat.

A "noun." And what happens if we affix the article is highly mysterious:

              the cat—

for the grammarians' distinction — definite article for the particular, indefinite for the general — is meant to operate between speakers, live persons in a real place who already know, because they are talking about it, which cat is "the cat": "Have you put out the cat?" But typed on a sheet of paper as if to designate some one cat though we cannot identify him, the article performs in pure abstraction a gesture of as-if-specifying: something operative not in the kitchen or the garden but in a language field, where on an invisible string a knot has been tied. (A poem is a machine made out of words.) The invisible string is an infinity of cats; the knot, the cat.

Tense the string:

              As the cat

— an exact structure, empty but located, as asymptotes locate a hyperbola. Empty but torqued: the spine braces against an anticipated swing: there will be two actions, two doings, parallel and related; hence two verbs, the first to be expected immediately.

              As the cat
              climbed over
              the top of
              the jamcloset
              first . . .

— we are braced, now, for the second verb; but the sentence has other business, and we are given instead a distinction:

              first the right
              forefoot

— a clarification, but the verb is still deferred; meanwhile "first" has generated a new substructure for the sentence to complete. First, hence second; do we next encounter "second" or some surrogate?? No, we encounter

              carefully

— an adverb as precariously placed as the cat's forefoot. And at last, a structure is acknowledged; "first" receives its answer:

              then

"First the right forefoot, then" — the left?

              then the hind

Though our local foreseeings are inaccurate, we remain attentive, and at last comes the verb we have so long anticipated, even as the cat, once embarked on this expedition, has anticipated, movement by movement, responsive solidities:

              first the right
              forefoot
              carefully
              then the hind
              stepped down
              into

This ideal cat, this verbal cat, this cat of linguistic torsions has (though "carefully") stepped down not onto but "into" —

              into the pit of

worse and worse

              the empty

— ?

              flowerpot

Verbal flowerpots are as hollow and frangible as verbal cats are agile. There is no more: we have examined two steps in slow motion, and if the front foot has been where the hind foot goes, we can feel as secure in the paradigm as we can in the knowledge that two subjects are competent to govern one verb. This structure of 27 words commenced off balance — "As" — and closes on a resolution of achievement and precariousness — "flowerpot." It is one sinuous suspended sentence, feeling its way and never fumbling. Its gestures raise anticipatory tensions, its economy dislodges nothing. The cat is as much an emblem of the sentence as the sentence is of the cat. It is headed "Poem."

07 December 2009

Krishna

[from Stephen Mitchell's translation of the Bhagavad Gita, Three Rivers, 2000]

16.10-12

Driven by insatiable lusts,
drunk on the arrogance of power,
hypocritical, deluded,
their actions foul with self-seeking,

tormented by a vast anxiety
that continues until their death,
convinced that the gratification
of desire is life's sole aim,

bound by a hundred shackles
of hope, enslaved by their greed,
they squander their time dishonestly
piling up mountains of wealth.

05 December 2009

Pound and Sound

[Arnaut Daniel's verse in Provençal followed by Ezra Pound's translation from Hugh Kenner's The Pound Era, University of California, 1971]

Quan lo rossinhols escria
Ab sa par la nueg e·l dia,
Yeu suy ab ma bell' amia
              Jos la flor
Tro la gaita de la tor
Estria: drutz, al levar!
Qu'ieu vey l'alba e·l jorn clar.

When the Nightingale to his mate
Sings day-long and night late
My love and I keep state
       In bower,
       In flower,
       'Till the watchman on the tower
       Cry:
           "Up! Thou rascal, Rise,
           I see the white
                         Light
                         And the night
                                             Flies."

03 December 2009

Ezra Pound

[from Ezra Pound's The Cantos, New Directions, 1996]

XVI [excerpt]

And before hell mouth; dry plain
                       and two mountains;
On the one mountain, a running form,
                       and another
In the turn of the hill; in hard steel
The road like a slow screw’s thread,
The angle almost imperceptible,
            so that the circuit seemed hardly to rise;
And the running form, naked, Blake,
Shouting, whirling his arms, the swift limbs,
Howling against the evil,
            his eyes rolling,
Whirling like flaming cart wheels,
            and his head held backward to gaze on the evil
As he ran from it,
            to be hid by the steel mountain,
And when he showed again from the north side;
            his eyes blazing toward hell mouth,
His neck forward,
            and like him Peire Cardinal.
And in the west mountain, Il Fiorentino,
Seeing hell in his mirror,
            and lo Sordels
Looking on it in his shield;
And Augustine, gazing toward the invisible.