Sophia Nichols,

By Robin Blaser 1925–2009 Robin Blaser
the wind hits and returns     it is easy to personify
a new place and language,     but the new body stings

these men with green eyelids, drawing their worth,
it was rumoured, from Egypt, knew

the work is part of it     a power arrived at the
same thirst

                   he borrowed a head for a day

but which head     the phrases tremble in the other
mouth    it is true and false     the veil of her face,

an old porcelain, not for the hand to comfort     she
moved beyond the sop one gave for affection    ‘My

success has been to keep duty and love alive’    she said
her hand waved with the power of disease      Sophia

Nichols of the orchards, the deserts, the flooded
ponds and games wherein the moon sought our feet

died with a mouth full of tumour      it is true and
false   the moon flowers  ( that is Blake talking )

tonight it is the half blossom and the stars too
above this mud are from the other mouth     this city

untouched     the streets, Hotel Lyric have a foreignness,
a place outside a window     a sound of bees pulling

the lilac     above cement this wonder ( the other mouth )
that crickets were men once who so loved the muses they

forgot to eat     now fed on thistles, the language must
sting    the flesh turn to a dew ( the other mouth ) the

loss,    some glistening blood on the leaves of the mirror
plant    Sophia Nichols of the story, the goldenrod,
of the snake that entered the cage and ate the captured
sparrows, the telegraph keys, pale yellow paper,     of

the Odyssey and the homing stories of the soul,     the sea
imaginary, light and foaming green on the rocks  dark

further out as the eye of the cat
                                                         if she would be
free from words, she would free me   even in the night

there are birds summoned by words

Robin Blaser, “Sophia Nichols,” from The Holy Forest: Collected Poems of Robin Blaser. Copyright © 2006 by Robin Blaser.  Reprinted by permission of University of California Press.

Source: The Holy Forest: Collected Poems of Robin Blaser (University of California Press, 2006)

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Poet Robin Blaser 1925–2009

POET’S REGION Canada

Subjects Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books, Poetry & Poets

 Robin  Blaser

Biography

Born in Denver and raised in Twin Falls, Idaho, poet, editor, and essayist Robin Blaser was educated at the University of California-Berkeley. With poets Robert Duncan and Jack Spicer, he helped spark the Berkeley Poetry Renaissance in the 1940s that preceded the San Francisco poetry renaissance of the 1950s and 1960s. In 1965, Blaser met Robert Creeley and Charles Olson, with whom he later worked closely. Miriam Nichols, editor . . .

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SUBJECT Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION Canada

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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