14 ene. 2009

(214)

*Bronk. Manifest and Furthermore. 1987. 77 pp.

William Bronk has two modes, as I've argued before. The symbolic mode begins with a concrete particular:

Winter Vocative


Broken sky-mirror,
blue shadowed snow,
June is far now,

hold it while you can; show
bare of branch
stark of stalk:
ache us to know.

In that mode there is more attention to the sound of the words, too. In the allegorical mode, the point of departure is an idea, and the concrete particular is simply a random illustration of that idea:

"We are shoes that it wears for a time and then discards."

The poems I tend to mark as my favorites and come back to in Bronk's books are symbolical, not allegorical. There is another mode that is simply literal, that doesn't use figurative language at all:

Futurity

Not anything I made, not these brief things.
but things I saw about the natural world:
I wish that these could hold there, never be gone.

I'm guessing people who don't get Bronk don't like that allegorical mode, which leads often to repetitiousness, or the literal mode. I find myself wishing Bronk had written more "Winter Vocative" type poems in proportion to the flatter philosophical reflections that end up saying the same thing in only slightly different ways.

Here's another symbolic poem:

End of February

Bare ground now. The mud-sun
a shallow scum on the hard under. Walk
warily, it's grease. Through my clothes
the sun adores me. Earth holds cold.