Dreams, April 1981

By Robin Blaser 1925–2009 Robin Blaser
so it is death is the
condition of infinite form—
the rebellion of particulars,
ourselves and each thing,
even ideas, against that infinitude,
is the story of finitude—the
dream of the children harvested
in a harvester-machine
there are the real voice
and the voice imagined
and both have a reality,
but the latter is out of it
the ladder of things

never accept gifts from the gods
—Hesiod’s bitter-sweet sense of it—
rings true and doesn’t
settle the sea-shore down
to where the heart breaks or is bronzed
‘I am happy,’ the man said,
‘because the toad of the morning
is the worst thing I’ll find today’
and CBC’s TV critic says, ‘television
is the Shakespeare of the 20th century’
red lilies fall on the carpet
and Art Tatum, drawing his art
out of hymns, wanted more dissonance

there are knives in the air
all around the poorly loved
their lives follow life back
into stone and they dream
a sweeter consonance at the centre
the art of a screaming and
demented oyster is not theirs
but I know both arts backwards
what the clothes man called the ‘world-tissue’
does have a hole in it, ‘must be,’
he said, ‘darned-up again’

it is the substance must change—
that is, our sense of it—a music
among word-whiskers—among
dreams of the blue dog running
verdant hills    my words do not
crack it—the pure spelling lesson,
short of breath, goes back
to perform words    so to perform
the music of any past period
is simply, and profoundly, to seek
the life that is within death    that
plenishes    fills the house with
argued furniture    and rests

        he listened to the lark so long
        he didn’t recognize the doorman

Robin Blaser, “Dreams, April 1981” 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


Subjects Living, Death, Arts & Sciences, Social Commentaries

 Robin  Blaser


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 Living, Death, Arts & Sciences, Social Commentaries


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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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