gershon hepner

Rookie - 10 Points (5 3 38 / leipzig)

Regrets - Poem by gershon hepner

On bedrocks of existence are regrets.
They are the ground on which we always stand
while making on the future brain-dead bets
we base on data we can’t understand.

Fear of absurdity and lack of meaning
provide the tension on which they are based,
while poetry provides them with dry-cleaning,
blaming all past blotches with good taste.

William Grimes writes an obituary on Hayden Carruth (“Hayden Carruth, Poet and Critic, Dies at 87, ” NYT, October 1,2008) :
Hayden Carruth, whose spare, precise, impassioned verse took myriad forms and stamped him as one of the most wide-ranging and intellectually ambitious poets of his generation, died Monday at his home in Munnsville, N.Y. He was 87. The cause was complications of a series of strokes, said Brooks Haxton, a poet and friend. Although known primarily as a critic, reviewer and editor, Mr. Carruth (pronounced cuh-ROOTH) produced some 30 books of poetry that addressed, in charged, taut language, subjects like madness, loneliness, death and the fragility of the natural world. “He had a greater variety of poems than almost anybody, ” said the poet Galway Kinnell, a longtime friend. “He was interested — superinterested — in everything and he could write about anything.” The tension between the chaos of the human heart and the sublime order of nature imbued his best work with a sense of momentous struggle, “a Lear-like words-against-the-storm quality, ” as the critic Geoffrey Gardner put it. Mr. Carruth wrote: “My poems, I think, exist in a state of tension between the love of natural beauty and the fear of natural meaninglessness or absurdity.”…
The poetry poured forth. After leaving Vermont to take a teaching post at Syracuse University in 1979, he published “The Sleeping Beauty’(1982) , a long poem consisting of 124 sonnetlike stanzas of his own invention that he called paragraphs. In “Asphalt Georgics” (1985) he incorporated colloquial speech into poems that inveighed against what one reviewer called “the universal plastic nothingness of mallsville.” His collection “Scrambled Eggs & Whiskey” won the National Book Award for poetry in 1996. Over time, the elegiac note became dominant in Mr. Carruth’s poetry. Sorrow for human loss, unthinking brutality and ecological catastrophe became his dominant themes. “Regret, acknowledged or not, is the inevitable and in some sense necessary context — the bedrock — of all human thought and activity, ” he wrote in 2003. “Intellectually speaking, it is the ground we stand on.”


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, October 2, 2008

Poem Edited: Thursday, October 2, 2008

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