October 11, 2008

Always the self returns

I remember reading Robert Creeley's poetry many years back and loving it and so have picked up 3 books of poetry by him today - Life & Death, Echoes, and If I were writing this.

Just one of his early poems for now...

Poem for D.H. Lawrence

I would begin by explaining
that by reason of being
I am and no other.
Always the self returns to
self-consciousness, seeing
the figure drawn by the window
by its own hand, standing
alone and unwanted by others.
It sees this, the self sees
and returns to the figure
there in the evening, the darkness
alone and unwanted by others.
In the beginning was this self,
perhaps, without the figure,
without consciousness of self
or figure or evening. In the
beginning was this self only,
alone and unwanted by others.
In the beginning was that and this
is different, is changed and how
it is changed is not known but felt.
It is felt by the self and the self
is feeling, is changed by feeling,
but not known, is changed, is felt.
Remembering the figure by the window,
in the evening drawn there by the window,
is to see the thing like money, is to be
sure of materials, but not to know
where they came from or how
they got there or when they came.
Remembering the figure by the window
the evening is remembered, the darkness
remembered as the figure by the window,
but is not to know how they came there.
The self is being, is in being and
because of it. The figure is not being
nor the self but is in the self and
in the being and because of them.
Always the self returns to, because of
being, the figure drawn by the window,
there in the evening, the darkness,
alone and unwanted by others.
Hmmm... There are some deep questions and ruminations about the self here but I am not sure I get the whole poem.

a great picture, which I call The Evolution of Self; © Alfredo Gomez Jr.

I'll try to post some of his more accessible poems in the days to come from the three books, which I hope to read in the next couple weeks.

For now, here is a quote from his poem that I had posted elsewhere and I had also excerpted lines from Creeley's poems as a prologue to a poem I wrote in 2005, which is when I first was introduced to his poetry through a book of selected poems - this one, if I remember right. (I believe there is a new book of collected poems this year, collecting poems from 1945-2005.)

Also a review of his work in the NYT and an interview with Creeley from 2003 after a reading at Emerson College in Boston.

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