Elegy

By Lyn Hejinian b. 1941 Lyn Hejinian
I am writing now in preconceptions

Those of sex and ropes

Many frantic cruelties occur to the flesh of the
         
            imagination

And the imagination does have flesh to destroy

And the flesh has imagination to sever

The mouth is just a body filled with imagination

Can you imagine its contents

The dripping into a bucket

And its acts

The ellipses and chaining apart

The feather

The observer


The imagination, bare, has nothing to confirm it

There's just the singing of the birds

The sounds of the natural scream

A strange example

The imagination wishes to be embraced by freedom

It is laid bare in order to be desired

But the imagination must keep track of the flesh
         
            responding—its increments of awareness—a
         
            slow progression

It must be beautiful and it can't be free




                     -for John Zorn, after his “Elegy”

Copyright © 1994 by Lyn Hejinian. Copyright © 1995-2007 Dia Art Foundation.

Source: 50: A Celebration of Sun & Moon Classics (Sun & Moon Press, 1995)

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Poet Lyn Hejinian b. 1941

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Subjects Nature, The Body, Arts & Sciences, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Elegy, Free Verse

 Lyn  Hejinian

Biography

A founding figure of the Language writing movement of the 1970s, and an influential force in the world of experimental and avant-garde poetics, Lyn Hejinian’s poetry is characterized by an unusual lyricism and descriptive engagement with the everyday. Like most Language writing, her work enacts a poetics that is theoretically sophisticated. While Language writing is stylistically diverse and, as a movement, difficult to reduce . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, The Body, Arts & Sciences, Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Poetic Terms Elegy, Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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