Celestial canoe

Today, most curiously, is the birthday both of Edgar Allan Poe, and of his literary soulmate & would-be bride, Helen Whitman.  I've written a lot of local-historical poetry about them, & other local Providence things, which you can find here (best to start at the beginning).  

Edgar Poe was fading fast in the late 1840s.  Yet he had hopeful & grandiose dreams - of marrying Helen, of starting a new literary journal, of instigating an American cultural Renaissance.  It all came to nought... or not.  Poe, in characteristic ghoulish (Baudelairean) fashion, achieved his aims - after a century or so.  His Providential ghost-bride (Whitman) came at it from another angle... yet they reached the same goal.  (Walt was the only literary figure of note to attend Poe's lonely funeral.)

Early tomorrow morning, a rare alignment of planets will be visible on the North American east coast.  (Search below for confirmation.)


In the Rock, the library, in Providence.
Snow’s hexagon glissando
falls on Whitman-Poe
birthday.  Athenaeum lens

(blind flash of mercury & lead)
poses twin agate lamps –
of seahorse hippocamps
& dread.  Envisioning (not-dead).

Dust-labyrinth of pupa-pharaoh.
Curious mummy-volumes
Oedipus exhumes...
– Eureka!  I have found you,

Madeleine!  In mold of lichen
Venn diagram (Raven) –
Martian crossroad, Jovian
Juliet-canoe... (shade of Ferrara sun).

Saturnine Henry disappears
under the alignment
of these stars’ bent
light palladium coheres

& spheres revolve (toward Galilee).
Into Newport Holy-Land
sail Jack & Jackie... Helen
Whitman... Eddie Poe.  One shy

brown bird, conducting lilac barge
beneath cedar boughs;
bearing between twin prows
her dewy double-ewed grail-charge.


Providence Athenaeum

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