Shipwreck in Haven, Part Five

By Keith Waldrop b. 1932 Keith Waldrop
after this, the cold more intense, and the night comes rapidly up
.
angels in the fall
.
around a tongue of land, free from trees
.
awakened by feeling a heavy weight on your feet, something that seems inert and motionless
.
awestruck manner, as though you expected to find some strange presence behind you
.
coming through the diamond-paned bay window of your sanctum
.
a crimson-flowered silk dressing gown, the folds of which I could now describe
.
deathly pallor overspreading
.
describing the exact nature of your nightly troubles
.
discomfort at seeing a surface spoiled
.
echo and foretaste
.
the entrance blocked, not only by brambles and nettles, which have to be beaten aside, but by piles of faggots, old boxes, and even refuse
.
expecting every moment to see the door open and give admission to the original of my detested portrait
.
fantastic wigs, costumes, other disguises
.
filling up the width of the street
.
frequent tussles
.
the glitter of silver and glass and the subdued lights and cackle of conversation around the dinner table
.
high-backed carved oak chair
.
I have omitted in my narration . . .
.
in a great raftered hall
.
in a tableau vivant, as an angel, sewn up in tights, with wings on your back
.
light your candle and  open the window
.
lines of your dress, with a hint of underthings
.
looking up, our problem still unsolved
.
luxurious with heavy silk and rich rococo furniture, all of it much soiled with age
.
many questions about the stars, of which you gave me my first intelligent idea
.
meanwhile, the snow, with ominous steadiness, and the wind falls
.
my weakness for the Ypsilanti Waltz, which I did regard as the most wonderful of compositions
.
neat strip of fine turf edging the road and running back until the poison of the dead beech leaves kills it under the trees
.
never venturing farther than a sandy beach, but losing everything at sea
.
not crawling or creeping, but spreading
.
not just out of repair, but in a condition of decay
.
only a foul trick after all
.
on the face of the judge in the picture, a malignant smile
.
profound impressions of unearthly horror
.
rambles and adventures among the rocky banks
.
the rope of the great alarm bell on the roof, which hangs down
.
rough horseplay and quarrels
.
sashes that splinter at a touch
.
the serpentlike form of the seraphim
.
something uncertain at work among the monuments
.
the thing on the bed, slowly shifting
.
till this particular day has passed through all the seasons of the year
.
the vicar, who used to tell us the story of Robinson Crusoe
.
waves and their whelps
.
while with a sickening revulsion after my terror, I drop half fainting across the end of the bed
.
with a pair of great greenish eyes shining dimly out within the lattice fronts
.
with painted carvings of saints and devils, a small galvanic battery, and a microscope

Keith Waldrop, “Shipwreck in Haven, Part Five” from Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy. Copyright © 2009 by the Regents of the University of California. Reprinted by permission of University of California Press.

Source: Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy (University of California Press, 2009)

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Poet Keith Waldrop b. 1932

Subjects Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

Biography

Keith Waldrop, who was awarded the 2009 National Book Award for poetry for Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy, has been a prominent voice in American poetry for over forty years.  He is the author of over a dozen books of poetry, prose, and translations. With Rosmarie Waldrop he co-edits Burning Deck Press.

Waldrop was born in Emporia, Kansas in 1932. He enrolled in the pre-med program at Kansas State Teacher’s College, but his . . .

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SUBJECT Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

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