On we go with the mystifoggy Rest Note Read-Along :

Poem # 5 :

In conformity with the principle of variation outlined previously, we're back with "Hobo" at the cliffside in Prospect Park, Providence (see postcard above, in HG Poetics header).

5.2 : "wordy backbone" - Hobo is on the "spine" of the ridge which runs down the old section of Providence. & he's thinking "cosmologically" about verbalizing a concept of the universe.

5.3 : "Bramble, Tennessee" - vague subtext here, word-games. Hobo is linked with both Lazarus & Teddy Roosevelt (on his "amble" through the jungle, or the "brambles"). & as Moses heard God in the burning bush, Lazarus heard a voice which drew him out of the crypt. "Tennessee" - pun on "see ten". Why? Clementine, on the edge of the cliff - like the "chestnut tree" that Hobo talks to (see stanza 5.5) - is a figure for a sort of muse or Beatrice (Dante : "Beatrice is a nine"), who leads the poet through the nine rings of hell to the earthly paradise. It's part of a narrative structure, too - this poem (Rest Note) is built in part on series of nine sections - which are actually (hidden) tens. Ie. "see ten". If you look at Rest Note # 10, it is actually a section of double length. Each larger part of Rest Note is to contain 19 sections, in the pattern 9-1-9 : but the center section (ie. #10) is double. Therefore each part actually has 20 poems ("see tens").

Got that? Awful turgid, huh?

The rest of this poem is pretty self-explanatory.

5.6-7 : "As every living being..." - Hobo talking to trees in the park, Lazarus listening to a compelling voice from within the grave... these are metaphors for the structural relationship between person & word, poet & poem.

5.7 : "western rim" - from Prospect Park, you can see the western ridge, like the rim of a bowl, on the other side of downtown Providence.

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