Occasional Poems

I write a lot of occasional poems.  This is one reason many (though by no means all) of them appear here, on me blog, hot off the brain-pan - because they are knotted to a specific date on the calendar or current event.  So this ongoing project, Ravenna Diagram, is a kind of crossweave of recurrent themes and motifs, with more spontaneous combustions, improvisations.  The result can be a sudden mosaic or collage of old hobby-horses and immediate happenings.

Today's effort, posted here, is an example.  What may seem very confusing on the surface is actually a tissue of old & new.  There's a nod to the late Bernard Jordan, a British WW 2 veteran known as "the Great Escapee", because not long ago he walked away from his nursing home in Hove, England to attend a memorial service at Normandy Beach (see article in NY Times today).  There's a reference to the "leap-second" process of setting the atomic clocks in Paris (see today's London Telegraph).

Then there are the recurrent motifs circling around Apollinaire, WWI, the "Rite of Spring" first performance (which Apollinaire attended, in Paris, on May 29, 1913), my cousin Juliet, who had her fatal leap from the Golden Gate (which opened to the public on the weekend of May 27-29 1937), and the French ship SS Normandie, which had its maiden voyage on May 29, 1935, and which sank in NY harbor in 1942.  A statue from the ship, called "La Paix", was rescued from the boat & now stands in Pinelawn Memorial Park on Long Island.

OK, got all that?  (There's more to it, but I can't tell you everything today.)  So here's the poem, fresh off the garage roof...


Fresh snow crowns a fresh year
with infinite white
diamonds – even the summit
of that garage in back, a pyramid

of blinding hexagons, brilliant.
Don’t know if I’ll ever see
Mont Saint-Michel – may
have to cross that Jordan very ancient

& in secret, like Mayor Bernard,
Great Escapee
(of blessed memory).
Not Proust nor any Time Lord

in Paris can hold back the earth
entirely (though she’s
ralentir, apparently)
from wheeling pear-wise (O mirth-

cunning ham) toward her favorite
star.  Thus my mental
golden spider must recoil –
revert apsidal synapses, knot

quipu cloverleaf across
this bubble-octagon
(Emanu-El, the sun).
Apollinaire dreams toward his Croix-

de-Guerre; Bernard pops into PX
for a final cigarette;
Stravinsky’s Juliet
leap-seconds to St. Vitus rite (La Paix).


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