aimlessly it pounds...

from my anthology of must read (a)merican poems

Jack Spicer

Thing Language

This ocean, humiliating in its disguises
Tougher than anything.
No one listens to poetry. The ocean
Does not mean to be listened to. A drop
Or crash of water. It means
Is bread and butter
Pepper and salt. The death
That young men hope for. Aimlessly
It pounds the shore. White and aimless signals. No
One listens to poetry.


A very direct and accurate appraisal of the writing process - and a clear copy of the poet’s isolation. If you walk this path, know that it’s uphill both ways in a hard snow – as my grandmother used to tell me.

It means nothing. It pounds the shore though no one listens – or (at least) no one else listens. There’s always the one – as the first word of the poem’s last line reveals.

Maybe the world is no ... and not yes.

Maybe ... if we are listening ... we cannot be the poem. It has yet to enter us.

What I find most appealing in Spicer’s works – the impossibilities ... the possibilities. In what they lines tell me, in what they refuse to tell. At once.

Yes, poetry ends like a coiled rope.


Clare said...

There are a lot of open spaces in this poem, like in Chinese brush painting...the lines show what is within and without...

sam of the ten thousand things said...

Good comparison, Clare. I'm drawn to his form as will becuase of the multiple readings that are created.