By Constance Merritt
Wrested from the coppery, willing claws of existential extremity, benefits and Inclemencies, Constance Merritt's moment choice of poems, is traditional in its types and radical in its achieving again to the floor of being and to the originality and immediacy of our first encounters with language. Forgoing the typical hedge of irony, those poems, with no apology, position their bets on elemental language, intentional grace, and culture in all its fruitfulness and freight.
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Extra resources for Blessings and Inclemencies: Poems
And what they say is what all lovers say, All friends, entranced by possibility Of what they might become, transﬁgured by Another pair of eyes, how skins might shine Like beaten gold and feel as soft as cashmere, Well burnished by another pair of hands. So what they say is what all lovers say (Though they will not have time to lose their shyness): And then, wrapped in their sables, they would talk (Sables, because Nebraska nights turn cold Or else they did in long-forgotten times Of which we speak) of everything under The sun; of sights and travels; of moors and pagans; Of this man’s beard and that woman’s skin; Of a rat that fed from her hand at table; Of the arras that moved always in the hall At home; of a face; of a feather.
Let those who must remember swear by Styx Henceforth to quiet, that there one day be an end to it. Let us instead recall Love born of Death And Darkness; from Love, Light with its companion, Day. 38 III They’ll say it isn’t true: Love born of Death. They’ll tell you only darkness comes from Darkness. I’ll tell you not to argue, save your breath. Only the heart that fathoms its own darkness Can witness truth, and by it can be measured Every word that enters through the ear, that outward Heart. There are Truth and Wisdom duly treasured; Evil, falsehood, nonsense quick discarded.
Now, I know that’s what we’ll always say— Athena’s owl ﬂies only after dark. Aye . . Then, I knew only the heat of brothers Closely huddled, conspiring together. We rarely touched each other when we were freed. 37 II The Titan gods against those born of Cronus And the Hundred-Handed brought to light from darkness (Brought from darkness into unnatural light To expedite slow-turning wheels of war). But enough of that! I will not speak of war! For embryos of future wars more terrible Than the last are borne over broad backs of sea And land with each new telling, and in this wise Are planted fatal seeds in fertile hearts.