So the Mark Strand poem from last Monday that started out, “It is true, as someone has said, that in a world without heaven all is farewll,” is a reply to this one by Wallace Stevens, which I looked up last night. And while it’s probably not the best idea to post something I don’t really understand, I remember a professor once saying a poem was “an emotional map on paper.” And we all need maps.
“Waving Adieu, Adieu, Adieu”
That would be waving and that would be crying,
Crying and shouting and meaning farewell,
Farewell in the eyes and farewell at the center,
Just to stand still without moving a hand.
In a world without heaven to follow, the stops
Would be endings, more poignant than partings, profounder,
And that would be saying farewell, repeating farewell,
Just to be there and just to behold.
To be one’s singular self, to despise
The being that yielded so little, acquired
So little, too little to care, to turn
to the ever-jubilant weather, to sip
One’s cup and never to say a word,
Or to sleep or just to lie there still,
Just to be there, just to be beheld,
That would be bidding farewell, be bidding farewell.
One likes to practice the thing. They practice,
Enough, for heaven. Ever-jubilant,
What is there here but weather, what spirit
Have I except it comes from the sun?