Back in the days I was a student, before the internet took hold & you could find almost any poem in the canon you wanted & print it out, I used to keep commonplace books, blank journals in which I wrote by hand the poems I loved and wanted to keep. I was an English major, budding poet, but had never taken a poetry workshop (and still haven’t excepting one 2 hr class with Jeffrey McDaniel) or received any instruction; I just read everything that struck my fancy, and of course, being a total book nerd who had also never really owned books before going to college, I was pretty obsessive about keeping them safe. I still have them, and now they’re fascinating to read. I find poems by James Wright, Sharon Olds, DH Lawrence, & Rilke, rubbing shoulders with poems by poets I know nothing of, nor how or where I first read their work. I wish I’d been a better record-keeper! This is one by Robert Mezey, who I will now have to Google:
Why should we praise them, or revere
The stations of the Zodiac,
When every unforgiving year
Drives us hence and calls us back?
The expectations we invent
Drift bodiless on the drifting air,
And who conceives them but must vent
The dark apartment of despair?
Days come and go, and we suppose
The future will bring something big;
But season after season throws
Rhomboids of sunlight on the rug.
They say a heavenly horn will blow;
They say we must not be afraid;
But they are fools for saying so.
Endless meridians swing and fade;
All bodies in their orbits go;
The sky has nothing left to give.
We in this clash of circles know
Only the vicious ones we live.
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