10 April 2010

Fred Chappell

[from Fred Chappell's Midquest, Louisiana State, 1981]

Firewood [excerpt]

. . . what God has joined together
let no man put asunder, where the wedge not
an inch in an hour of hitting goes in and the
arms quiver exhausted, sweat soaking the crotch
of the twist shorts, and nothing, this baby
simply don't give & don't even promise just
like the nice girls back in high school, remember?,
going to be married to this flint round of
wood forever, till finally fin;al;ly it bust loose
to show the dagger-shaped knot hid in the
heart of it, black and ochre and dark red, looks like
a trawler steaming up the stream of veins,
or a stubborn island in the colorful river, what
secret part of my life is it? so resisting and
so in tight upon itself, so bitter bitter hard
until at last torn open shows that all the secret
was merely the hardness itself, there's no true
shame worth hiding but some knot of hurt
hardly recalled, yet how can I say it
is not beautiful this filigree of primaries,
its form hermetic in the flow of time the
rings transcribe, I will set it down amid
the perfect things, alongside the livid day
lilies here and the terrapins I brought home
as a child . . .

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