Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Pursuit

My nephew Jerrod writes:
"A drawing I did for my favorite poem,
'Pursuit,' by Stephen Dobyns.
Not terribly original, but I like it."

I like it too!
Jerrod, don't underestimate your originality!
Thanks for sharing!
Each thing I do I rush through so I can do
something else. In such a way do the days pass—
a blend of stock car racing and the never
ending building of a gothic cathedral.
Through the windows of my speeding car, I see
all that I love falling away: books unread,
jokes untold, landscapes unvisited. And why?
What treasure do I expect in my future?
Rather it is the confusion of childhood
loping behind me, the chaos in the mind,
the failure chipping away at each success.
Glancing over my shoulder I see its shape
and so move forward, as someone in the woods
at night might hear the sound of approaching feet
and stop to listen; then, instead of silence
he hears some creature trying to be silent.
What else can he do but run? Rushing blindly
down the path, stumbling, struck in the face by sticks;
the other ever closer, yet not really
hurrying or out of breath, teasing its kill.

by American Poet Stephen Dobyns (b 1941)
from his book Cemetery Nights © Penguin Books, 1987

Jerrod's drawing and favorite poem
made me of think of a painting
from my long ago sketchbook
and a somewhat less sophisticated poem
that I was fond of back in the 1970s:

" . . . They've known it for a thousand years . . . but never changed the pattern . . . yet . . . not yet . . . but some day soon . . . "

Tongue in his cheek, Youth climbs the path
That leads atop the hill Success,
Too well aware that he will find,
When he has reached the crest

A crazy, topsy - turvy world,
With people fighting bout on bout
For everything they do not want
But dare not do without.

~ poem by Helen Doremus ~
opening remark by Ted Malone
found in his American Album of Poetry (p 137)

1 comment:

  1. A student's reach for the stars
    should exceed her grasp . . .

    Robert Browning:
    "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
    Or what's a heaven for?"
    ~ from "Andrea del Sarto", line 98