Soft Hail

By Keith Waldrop b. 1932 Keith Waldrop
Afterward, to tell how it was possible to
identify absolute space, a matter of great
difficulty, keeping in mind always
that not all old music is beautiful and
therefore it’s necessary to choose. Ice
loading and unloading as the ice caps
wax and wither. Brutal and uncouth from the beginning
even unto time, space, place, motion.

How are we to obtain true motion? I
predict a fiasco—and a fiasco
with catcalls. Wind circulation in the
case of plants, predators in the case
of animals, affecting their distribution on
the ancient land masses. And
who will conduct the chorus and
orchestra? Many things exist at once.

Predilection and preference. Begin
with the storm. A very agile, beautiful
voice. With tremendous temperament. The earth’s
magnetic field weakening. Even the princess
is drawn into the violence of the action,
extremes of joy, mad ravings, almost
requiring the conventions of opera. Thus,
thus; we parted, thus to meet again.

Thus in a ship, under sail, since the sun
itself is moving, supposing Infinite
Space to be (as it were) Sensorium
of the Omnipresent. Reduced to a
few feet of ground, we begin with great
delight to plant a garden. The Czar is in
that garden. Quiet eruptions, safe enough to attract
tourists. We suppose other bodies annihilated.

Upon any conditions supposed, taught to describe
accurately, I detest everything that smells
of theory. If we look at similar
coral reefs, the past location of the same
precise environment can be traced. But
there the comparison breaks. And from these
relative motions will arise the relative
motion of a body on the earth.

Keith Waldrop, “Soft Hail” 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, Social Commentaries, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

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, Social Commentaries, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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