Wallace Stevens' Poetry And Survival: My Choosing To Read The Planet On The Table, Among Other Poems Poem by Dennis Ryan

Wallace Stevens' Poetry And Survival: My Choosing To Read The Planet On The Table, Among Other Poems

Saturday afternoon, May 27, 2023 at 1: 16 p.m.; Monday evening, May 29, 2023 at 6: 10 p.m.,8: 58 p.m. and 9: 21 p.m.;
Tuesday morning, May 30, 2023 at 9: 23 a.m.

I read your verses as I do words
spoken to me in private by friends:
write on, speak, parle; I listen intently
to every word you say—this intimate
sharing, this parley that occurs across
time, space, life and death. If I had to choose
just one, one poem to read, to survive on,
which one would it be? Hold on. Allow me
to deliberate—final soliloquy of the interior paramour?
I think so, yes, and yet … allow me … It would have
to be the planet on the table. Yes, it immediately comes
to mind, and yet… I sense one other, close to them
in time, composition—a seascape viewed from far above,
an outlook to climb up to to recompose the pines, a self-
education and a sharing, an instruction as regards
where to go and what to look for if you are a poet,
a lesson in survival, the poem that took the place
of a mountain. Yes, I would choose it, but let me
backtrack, start at the beginning: we are born,
we live and die alone—albeit in the company of
the interior paramour—and nothing can change
this, this the most intimate, intense rendezvous
when nearing death. Wrap that shawl tight around
you, me and our families, our poverty, as we begin
our final trek through the cold—I beheld my father,
old and alone, in a dream last night, and he never
looked back, no, he never turned around; he just
looked straight ahead into the crowd, then joined
the processional as shall we all one day. (It's my dream;
I own it—I miss my father like I never have previously.) . Heartbreak—my own, alone—wrap that shawl tight
around, and yet—our being here together… (dire memo?) . Some solace in absence. (I don't know.) . Glad would
I have been to be Ariel, to have been with Prospero,
to have written poems such as his/hers, to possess that
faculty—that tenderness, grace and compassion—to have served Prospero willingly, to have been a catalyst for change:
the rarer action is virtuous rather than vengeful. Even so,
if you can—if it is indeed possible—teach me to forgive those who betray and exile me. That virtue, that lineament, that character, that affluence—to write poems of that bearing,
a sharing of the planet of which they and one and a part,
the book finally placed face down in the dust. Glad would
I have been to be Ariel. And glad am I now to have this
saving view—this inward place to go to—always a dilemma
of where the artist, the solitary, truly feels at home. This
the problem that. Robinson Jeffers and George Oppen
address in their poems—to be one of, then not—the gaping distance created by the poet's clear seeing—from the granite cliffs of Monterrey to the sand spits of Red Hook—that great
a distance—and where to go, as mentioned before, where
to recompose the pines, whereto discover the view, where
to be at home as regards a certain outlook. I can see—
thanks for—I have journeyed high, to mountain outlooks—
gazed down onto seas—in Japan, France, the United
States, the Bahamas, Canada, elsewhere—such sights,
sightings inspire such metaphors! Glad am I—thanks
for sharing yours. You died when I was four, shortly
after we had moved out of that particular apartment
and house on Pleasant Street In Wellsville, New York.
I think of this sometimes—this particular apartment upstairs,
the house, that life, memories that simulate reality now,
verses my blood have memorized. And the fact I was four—
sensing I had missed out on something important long
after the fact. (I had yet to read a poem of yours.) . And
now, into my 67th year—now my 72nd—your voice in my
ear—this poem an appreciation. You. Soliloquy. Memory.
Empathy. Parley. Parle, Ariel. Sharing the planet. Just so.

Monday, May 29, 2023
Topic(s) of this poem: famous poets,memory,poems,learning,reading,psychology,psychological,survival,choice,writing,love of poetry
I have been influenced more by the poetry and thinking of Wallace Stevens (1879-1954) than by any other writer with the possible exception of Shakespeare.
Dennis Ryan

Dennis Ryan

Wellsville, New York
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