On we go with Read-Along with Rest Note :

Poem # 13 :

13.1 : "jungle was a mutiny..." - we are back with fevered Teddy Roosevelt in the Amazon jungle. "mutiny of limbs" - more play with micro/macrocosm. As the jungle is a tangled "mutiny" of tree-limbs, so Teddy's feverish limbs are mutinous (& as Teddy as presidential "representative" American represents a fevered, lost country). "each hypertrope" etc. - see Candice Millard's book again (River of Doubt) on the voracious jungle ecosystem.

13.2 : "death was comedy" - the bizarre hunting/killing mechanisms of various jungle flora & fauna - their predatory quality - pushes the sense that life is cheap. "renounce all vanity" etc. - this environment is teaching TR to recognize the similar forms of malice & brutality which turned the "civilized" world into a jungle too.

13.4 : "jaguar" and "chrysalis" etc. - jaguar as avatar of jungle itself; dangling chrysalis as symbol (related to many others in the poems) of art or poetry - pendant, swaying between sky & earth. In this stanza the unknown & uncanny forces of both are interrelated or fused to some extent.

13.5 : "Fevered"... etc. this fusion - a sort of act of literary magic - is part of TR's fever; it leads him to find metaphorical/symbolic relations, to "poetize" himself. Thus he sees his father as both tree and "oaken volume" and "valid redeemer" (Vladimir Nabokov acronym); his mother as the almond tree with the dangling nest (Mandelstam/Jewish subtext), and all becoming a pendulum-breeze. This may sound rather "fevered" in its own right : but there is a subtextual logic to the lines. If TR is a persona or mask for the poetic speaker, then this narration - about language/jungle/human lostness - is in part a story about the poetic process in general, and in particular about the literary ancestry of the speaker's poetic voice.

13.6 : "Bored then... the planet was enough" - an arcane encounter - wrestling match, chessgame - between nature itself (the jaguar) and poetry ends in a kind of draw. The jaguar pads off, leaving the president in extremis : yet still he mutters, "the planet was enough". This phrase a sort of amalgam of Wallace Stevens with Osip Mandelstam's credo of Acmeism : that one of the deepest motives of poetry is to "humanize" the earth, to domesticate it, help people to recognize their kinship with it and each other, their "at-homeness" in reality. Stevens & Mandelstam came at this from different angles, but paradoxically shared many affinities regarding the (humane) values of the earth.

13.7 : "absolute/checkmate. And he wore a crown..." - in his "defeat" by nature's fierce law (the jaguar) - his willingness to encounter it - the poet/explorer actually wins the crown.

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