[ilds] Come, drink! The perfect form of public reticence.

slighcl slighcl at wfu.edu
Sun Mar 9 20:02:33 PDT 2008

On 3/9/2008 6:26 PM, william godshalk wrote:
> Richard, I remember your charming daughter in Avignon; I recall the 
> French waiter (male) who kissed me on both cheeks; I remember meeting 
> Stoney roaming about the palace, etc.
> But I'll be damned if I remember that you mentioned George Young. And 
> I take all the blame -- I had been drinking.
PORTFOLIO [from Collected Poems: 1931-1974 (1985) , Faber and Faber  ]

Late seventeenth, a timepiece rusted by dew,
Candles, a folio of sketches where rotting
I almost found you a precarious likeness---
The expert relish of the charcoal stare!
The copies, the deposits, why the very
Undermeaning and intermeaning of your mind,
Everything was there.

Your age too, its preoccupations like ours ...
'The cause of death is love though death is all'
Or else: 'Freedom resides in choice yet choice
Is only a fatal imprisonment among the opposites.'
Who told you you were free? What can it mean?
Come, drink! The simple kodak of the hangman's brain
Outstares us as it once outstared your world.
After all, we were not forced to write,
Who bade us heed the inward monitor?

And poetry, you once said, can be a deliverance
And true in many sorts of different sense,
Explicit or else like that awkward stare,
The perfect form of public reticence.

1966/ 1964

Charles L. Sligh
Department of English
Wake Forest University
slighcl at wfu.edu

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