Monday, April 2, 2012

Tuesday Poem - The Thing Itself by Chris Wallace-Crabbe

The Thing Itself

The important thing is to build new sentences,
to give them a smart shape,
to get acquainted with grammar like a new friend.

One rubs down syntax
into coarse familiarity,
such foreplay as closes down all thought.

Were it not
that the undertaking is too mannered
(as gnostic as a shower of rabbits)

I would like to go right back,
devising a sentence
unlike any other creature in creation;

like nothing on the planet:
a structure full of brackets and cornices,
twigs, pediments, dadoes and halos and bells,

full of nuts, butter and flowers!
sinewy, nerved,
capable of blotches or of waving hair.

This would be a sentence to really show the buggers,
like a cute
new thing

or like a tree
recently invented
by some utterly brilliant committee;

it would glitter, articulate,
strum and diversify.
It would be the thing itself.

Chris Wallace-Crabbe is a poet and a professor (emeritus) and a tennis player and an amateur visual artist – and one of our elder statesmen. He reads his work so well, it is a delight to go to one of his readings. I try not to miss them. This subtle quirky poem is in his chapbook from Wagtail (Picaro Press) called The Thing Itself. (Published Feb 2007.)