Creeley on Ginsberg – (“When I Heard The Learn’d Astronomer…”)

6a00d8341c630a53ef00e5509a24fe8833-800wi

[Robert Creeley (1926-2005)]

Following the couple of recent  posts on the great American poet, Robert Creeley – here and here here’s Creeley’s poem/elegy for Allen – “When I Heard The Learn’d Astronomer…” (from his 2003 volume, If I Were Writing This)

“WHEN I HEARD THE LEARN’D ASTRONOMER…”

A bitter twitter,

flitter,

of birds,

in evening’s

settling,

a reckoning,

beckoning

someone’s getting

some sad news,

the birds gone to nest,

to roost

in the darkness,

asking no improvident questions,

none singing,

no hark,

no lark,

nothing in the quiet dark.

 

Begun with like hypothesis,

arms, head, shoulders.

with body state

better soon than late,

better not wait,

better not be late,

breathe ease,

fall to knees,

in posture of compliance,

obeisance,

accommodation

a motivation.

All systems must be imagination

which works,

allbeit have quirks.

 

Add by the one

or by the none,

make it by either

or or.

Or say that after you

I go

follow me

See what comes after

or before,

what

you had thought.

 

Many’s a twenty?

A three?

Is twenty-three

plenty?

 

A call to reason

then

in due season

a proposal of heaven

at seven

in the evening,

a cup of tea, a sense

of recompense

for anyone works for a living,

getting and giving.

Does it seem mind’s all?

What’s it mean

to be inside

a circle, to fly

in the sky, dear bird?

 

Words scattered,

tattered

yet

said

make it

all evident,

manifest.

No contest.

One’s one again.

It’s done.

 

Hurry on, friend,

There is no end

to desire

to Blake’s fire

to Beckett’s mire,

to any such whatever.

 

Old friend’s dead

in bed.

 

Old friend’s die,

Goodbye!

Creeley can be heard reading the poem here –  “… the sad occasion, the, effectually,  the poem in memory of Allen Ginsberg, for which I used, actually, a title of Walt Whitman‘s called  “When I Heard The Learn’d Astronomer”, which is, in itself a wonderful poem, a poem about sitting and listening to a lecturer, who is well-informed and obviously saying things of real import, but the listener becomes restless, the man is talking about the heavens and astronomy, and the man listening becomes restless ,and goes outside and looks at the sky, the heavens – and that’s sort of parallel to my sense of what Allen was doing.”

hipparchus

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *