Play in Which Darkness Falls

By Frank Stanford 1948–1978 Frank Stanford

Raymond Roussel

Two girls runaway from the Home.  They have a revolver
in their possession.  The Sisters Of Our Lady have given up
looking for them, returning in the night with soft candles.
The sleek clouds have thrown their riders, and the bees
are returning to the honey, the clover at the edge of the   
cliff black as eyelids, damp as blue mussels flexing at the moon.
The girls look in the stolen mirror, then throw their shoes
in the sea.  They take off one another’s dress, posing
on the rocks that jut out over the faded water of the last days.
The clover beat down from their splendid feet, the clover
quiet like a vault.  Nearby in a ship named for early death,
I drink wine like a city.  Anchored far off the continent of love.   
Strange, but bees do not die in their own honey, and how the dead
are toted off, how the sweet moons are deposited in the catacombs.
The clover at the edge of the sea like a chemise, place
where animals have lain.  They help one another with their hair,
their dresses blowing back to land.  They look over the
cliff, spit on the beach.  Birds I have never seen going by.

Estate of Frank Stanford © C.D. Wright

Source: Automatic Co-Pilot (Unpublished Collection, )

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Poet Frank Stanford 1948–1978

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Activities, Travels & Journeys, Nature, Arts & Sciences, Theater & Dance

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Biography

Born in 1948, Stanford was a prolific poet known for his originality and ingenuity. He has been dubbed “a swamprat Rimbaud” by Lorenzo Thomas and “one of the great voices of death” by Franz Wright. He grew up in Mississippi, Tennessee, and then Arkansas, where he lived for most of his life and wrote many of his most powerful poems. He attended the University of Arkansas from 1967-9 and studied engineering while continuing to . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Travels & Journeys, Nature, Arts & Sciences, Theater & Dance

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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