The days, the nights, flow one by one above us. The hours go silently over our lifted faces. We are like dreamers who walk beneath a sea. Beneath high walls we flow in the sun together. We sleep, we wake, we laugh, we pursue, we flee.
I compelled myself all through to write an exercise in verse, in a different form, every day of the year. I turned out my page every day, of some sort--I mean I didn't give a damn about the meaning, I just wanted to master the form--all the way from free verse, Walt Whitman, to the most elaborate of villanelles and ballad forms. Very good training. I've always told everybody who has ever come to me that I thought that was the first thing to do.
Schoolchildren all over America are told to write to authors-often to authors whom they have never before heard of, whose work they are to young to understand in the least, and often in letters which are almost illiterate. If children are to be taught to respect the work of American poets I think some better way might be found to do so- some way which would not make such an inconsiderate demand on the author's time.
It is precisely the sort of thing I am always trying to do in my writing -- to present my unhappy reader with a wide-ranged chaos -- of actions and reactions, thoughts, memories and feelings -- in the vain hope that at the end he will see that the whole thing represents only one moment, one feeling, one person. A raging, trumpeting jungle of associations, and then I announce at the end of it, with a gesture of despair, "This is I!
It is moonlight. Alone in the silence I ascend my stairs once more, While waves remote in pale blue starlight Crash on a white sand shore. It is moonlight. The garden is silent. I stand in my room alone. Across my wall, from the far-off moon, A rain of fire is thrown. There are houses hanging above the stars, And stars hung under the sea, And a wind from the long blue vault of time Waves my curtains for me. I wait in the dark once more, swung between space and space: Before the mirror I lift my hands And... Read more »
Oh, I've discarded a great many [poems]. And occasionally I've discarded and then resurrected. I would find a crumpled yellow ball of paper in the wastebasket, in the morning, and open it to see what the hell I'd been up to; and occasionally it was something that needed only a very slight change to be brought off, which I'd missed the day before.
Variations: II Green light, from the moon, Pours over the dark blue trees, Green light from the autumn moon Pours on the grass ... Green light falls on the goblin fountain Where hesitant lovers meet and pass. They laugh in the moonlight, touching hands, They move like leaves on the wind ... I remember an autumn night like this, And not so long ago, When other lovers were blown like leaves, Before the coming of snow.