Mudlark No. 59 (2015)


Not that it’s not real, but your problem is
you think it’s all real, think all you do
is real. Yes, you’re you, but it’s a role.
Very original. But if it’s true it’s true.
Remember how Robert Penn Warren
wrote how Wordsworth touched a tree
to see if he was real, or to re-assure
himself he was? Wasn’t that because 
he, Warren, wondered whether he
himself was real? Except that he was 
wrong. What Wordsworth actually said
was he, he Wordsworth, reached out
to touch a tree to see if it, not he, if it
was real. He never doubted himself. 
So the connection between yearning 
and doubt that one’s own self is real
is that one wants some solid thing to
be metaphysical proof you can touch.
But that wouldn’t prove it was real.
It would only prove that it was there.
Well, it’s all here. All of it is. And I’m 
not saying I know. What was it Bloom
wrote on that paper you wrote about Warren?
“You are a Stevensian, and so am I... Don’t 
ask him for what he doesn’t want to give.... 
I don’t find that yearning, either in the poems 
or in the man.” You claimed he yearned?  He 
does. I mean I did. But I can’t separate it out.
“And my heart is impacted with a fierce impulse 
to unwordable utterance” — he sees
a solitary crow in winter, or says so, re-
members later, writes about it, I find the book,
this one spare poem stands out, reduplicates,
that’s his repeated word, a pressure these years 
later since I read it, in my solar plexus. This takes
place in or replaces an imaginary landscape
in which I can’t help thinking alignment of seen
and desired seems something like comfort or relief.
You said he said “unwordable”? Is that even a word? 
“A very responsible job of work, and I respect it, 
though I think mostly it is fundamentally wrong.”

Mark Dow | Water
Contents | Mudlark No. 59 (2015)