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Charles D. Tarlton: This All Will Someday Be Nothing

Image: Unsplash, downloaded ( 6.3.2022.

Now and Then

C'etait ma foi, la nonchalance divine.

- Wallace Stevens

There is no music can encompass,

nor words melodic

bring half-accurately to mind,

the memories

(now memorize this:

the shape and texture, shade and hue

of even one smooth stone on the beach,

newly wet from wavelets driven in

by the cold wind)

afoot along the swash

of the monstruous sea.

It is a monster, that blue-green

thing, stretching to the end of the world,

a gullet large enough to swallow cities

or beauty itself, with clutching, amorous arms

reaching out for the wide land.

Extending the idea of spreadèd sand

(unmentioned up to now) from the gristmill

of the sea, where too the wind fine powders rock

faces, until bright shards of mica

catch the sun,

salted and peppery.

The whole world is drawn in now

to the loss, that is an eternal loss,

how this all will someday be nothing.

In the Middle of the Story

Monadnock, and the Peterborough hills....

- Thoreau

As if I was somewhere in Kansas, I imagined

I could see the dark profile of the Rockies

and a diorama of history rising out of the prairie;

strings of oxen pulling heavy oaken wagons, overweight

with dreams, and sweet-water rivers easing down towards us,

on to the flat.

Go closer now and make a metaphor

of the other thing, an idea of cloud-mountains and sugar

dustings of snow. There! There! An arrow of Canadian geese,

arcs across the sky.

Come now from the other way around,

the setting sun behind us casting shadows out across the flat land

in a reversal of history. Pull backwards towards gray Appalachia,

go toward Terre Haute and Indianapolis,

where once a future pioneer was planting fields of corn

and dreaming of Daniel Boone and Jebulon Pike.

Author about Himself: I live and write poetry on the Connecticut shore with my wife, Ann Knickerbocker, an abstract painter and our black female standard poodle, Nikki. I have a Ph.D. from UCLA. I have experimented (sometimes successfully and sometimes not) with various forms of poetry over the last few years. I have written short-line lyrics, haiku and tanka prose, ekphrastic poems in reaction to famous and not-so famous painters, prose poetry, short, experimental poetic screenplays, and hybrid forms bridging among all these. I have had modest success publishing my work in such periodicals as Rattle, Blackbox Manifold (UK), London Grip (UK), Illanot Review, Gone Lawn,2River, and The Journal (UK).


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The image of Quasimodo is by French artist Louis Steinheil, which appeared in  the 1844 edition of Victor Hugo's "Notre-Dame de Paris" published by Perrotin of Paris.


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