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From 500

August 26, 2015

From 500

i remember endless piers rustling in her golden arms
& the long sea full of doors
& the burning sky without windows
the burning bones of chrysanthemums
& the hurling flags inside the fence.
blue eyes and white ferns were forgotten
yet the river smiled
the eagles spoke
blue thunder and black mountains kissed
–Juan Felipe Herrera, 1969
COMMENTARY: Juan Felipe Herrera is the new US poet laureate, replacing Charles Wright who replaced….Phillip Levine who replaced…W.S. Merwin? I don’t remember. Unlike in England where the title means something, in the US, the poets change every 15 minutes or so. Anyway, Herrera is a dual-language poet who, at his best, writes these sorts of jagged, image-thick lines. He’s very much in the Latin American tradition of political surrealism. I like “kiss” in the last line here. Perfect for the brief “lightning in the collied sky/ that in a spleen unfolds heaven and earth,” to quote a poet who was never laureate.

From → Nature, Surrealism

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