Curtains Like A Naive Pretense Of Sleep
As in a play the father fetches pageants out of air,
scenes of the theatre, vistas and blocks of woods
and curtains like a naive pretense of sleep.
His audience was his family and the few neighbors
he has inveigled here to be entertained by his
vigorous words and passionate gestures.
“St. Joseph and Mary the Virgin have lost
their castanets and start to look for the Gypsies
to see if they know where they are.”
“Next came a Raven, that liked not such folly:
he belonged, they did say, to the Witch Melancholy!
Blacker was he than blackest Jet,
Flew low in the rain, and his feathers not wet.”
His audience baffled by these utterances
wonders if the tale will become clearer as he continues
the strange parade of characters before them.
“When the Lord Lucifer leaves, you will tell
the Lord Yaweh that the Lord Lucifer has changed
his mind and no longer has any need to see him.”
No, they decided with that last remark:
there is no sense to be had of this nonsense
with no connecting thread save his speaking of it.
It was all a cobbled together mish mash
of things which he thought sounded great,
but great though his passion for language was
he had lost his audience who wondered why
he had asked them here for this entertainment,
but maybe he just liked the sound of his own voice.
---Purple Mark 071412
- “The father fetches pageants out of the air, scenes of the theatre, vistas and blocks of woods and curtains like a naive pretense of sleep.” Wallace Stevens. The Palm At The End Of The Mind: Selected Poems And A Play. (Vintage Books 1972) Page 311.
- “St. Joseph and Mary the virgin have lost their castanets and start looking for the gypsies to see if they know where they are.” Garcia Lorca. The Gypsy Ballads Of Garcia Lorca. Translated by Rolfe Humphries. (Indiana University Press, 1963) Page 50.
- “Next came a raven, that liked not such folly: he belonged, they did say, to the witch melancholy! Blacker was he than blackest jet, flew low, and his feathers not wet.” Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Coleridge:Laurel Poetry Series. (Dell Publishing, 1959) Page 37.
- “When the Lord Lucifer leaves, you will tell the Lord Yaweh that the Lord Lucifer has changed his mind, and no longer has any need to see him.” Steven Brust. To Reign In Hell. (Ace Books, 1984) Page 73.
If you haven't already, check out Penhead Press's first publication: Randomly Accessed Poetics, Issue 1: The Texture of Words.