LANDSCAPE WITH ANGEL
What does it need with wings? It lofts
Expresses itself only through the horizontal
Human embellishments hide among the drapes,
Lies always under night, dotted with lights
THE THING IS
you never could leave
Myth operates. Content comes. Design calls and
Or will to craft. Answer: Who cares?
Have it made well. Enough. You alone
(beginning with an erasure of a quote by Robert Duncan)
"The Thing Is" arrived very quickly. I was noodling around in Robert Duncan's "The Truth and Life of Will," when I came across this passage: “The surety of the myth for the poet has such force that it operates as a primary reality in itself, having volition. The mythic content comes to us, commanding the design of the poem; it calls the poet into action, and with whatever lore and craft he has prepared himself for that call, he must answer to give body in the poem to the formative will.” This struck my daydreaming mind with force, and I immediately began to pull some words into the foreground and push others into the background in a kind of mental erasure. Then, as I always do with erasures, I began to play with and arrange what was left, trying always to be true to the feeling, the creative anxiety, the original quote had raised in me.
"Landscape WIth Angel" also arose from a conscious interaction with another work, in this case a painting of the same title by Maureen O'Hara Ure, with whom I have long collaborated. Maureen creates what I can only describe as dreamscapes, often serving as backdrops for figures she herself has scavenged from earlier paintings or other works of art. In this case, the angel was Byzantine. This poem is meant to honor Maureen's painting but also the whole genre of paintings it refers to, in which angels rush to deliver their messages to a dozy world.