Have been reading the section on JH Prynne over in Jacket. Such complex careful attention. Despite the sense that late-Empire Larkinaise (Larkin-malaise) is easily transmitted to Brit academic fellers, one can be jealous of the highly-cultivated ears over there. A poetry gains weight & resonance when it finds a shared language for shared experiences. A "landscape", a "season".
Also Keith Ward, Religion and Community.
from the "Ancient Light" chapt. of Stubborn Grew:
The train ride to Oxford was something else.
Profound droning weight of iron travel machine,
farmland English backyard a pale moss green
in the moist December light, your pulse
is calm outside of London, Providence
might be a way of life, a common sphere,
fair, sensible and just - a Hertfordshire
in an ovoid Shakespeare's head, a salience.
(cf. Mandelstam's ruminations on poetry as evolutionary "salience", in Journey to Armenia.)
"ovoid"? It struck me yesterday - the distinct oddity of the term for the center of power: "the Oval Office".
An egg sprung out of winter Iron Age.
At the other end of Stubborn, there's a Joycean-Chaucerian parade-procession of sorts, Anna Akhmatova on her way to get a prize in Oxford:
Nay, the horses are in final fedders and wee flying.
Through the greenmoss ways by the quiet waters,
by the oxenford, near where Actemydovie totters
along with to sieve her mettle, warning and warming
her loving piece all the way to Petroglad, finally;
and well pick Nuckleheadup along the Wye, playing flowt
and flowering flowcraft, like Jimi Hucktrix and what
Bea J Hen can seagal us a supthere, friendly
among the gould keelover flowerpunters,
those steady-eyed treefellers and form farmers
like granite under the holy rollercoasters,
a sprungfeedle farmcanter. A witbull H-er's
resting on the Blackstone shoulders, his liberty
a done thing everydeeday, as we canterbury
along, long plowman's wake - and a very gradumerry
grape it is, ripe to the buddies, from a little tree -
near the edge of the Terrace
the limbs all black and thorny
the buds, just barely
the green moss
kindness now, and grief. Hers,
yours, ours. . . [etc.]
(p.s. the 3rd vol, July, was finished on 3.5.2000, the anniversary of both Akhmatova's & Stalin's death. Akhmatova crops up in odd places throughout Forth of July.)