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Daily Poem 
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Post Re: Daily Poem
Oh my gosh, I have little to say about the meaning of the poem. I look at it as a Dickey performance, and he was all about performing, whether in archery, guitar-playing, or spinning yarns. This performance involves a simple conceit or "what if': what if animals had a heaven, just as humans are said to have? What would it be like for them to exist in a realm where everything is better than real,. raised to an nth degree, earthly limitations removed? Of course, Dickey's biggest interest is going to be predator and prey, avid hunter that he was. So he invents a heavenly justification, of sorts, for the seeming cruelty of nature, which in the divine imagining isn't cruelty at all, but joy for all.

In that Moyers interview, Dickey said his ideal way to die would be to get mauled by a grizzly bear. Whatever floats your canoe, Jim!

With what cleverness I've used this word 'performance.' Ya gotta hand it to me. It segues to another Dickey poem, one that Donald Hall chose for his great anthology Contemporary American Poets.



The Performance
By James L. Dickey

The last time I saw Donald Armstrong
He was staggering oddly off into the sun,
Going down, off the Philippine Islands.
I let my shovel fall, and put that hand
Above my eyes, and moved some way to one side
That his body might pass through the sun,

And I saw how well he was not
Standing there on his hands,
On his spindle-shanked forearms balanced,
Unbalanced, with his big feet looming and waving
In the great, untrustworthy air
He flew in each night, when it darkened.

Dust fanned in scraped puffs from the earth
Between his arms, and blood turned his face inside out,
To demonstrate its suppleness
Of veins, as he perfected his role.
Next day, he toppled his head off
On an island beach to the south,

And the enemy’s two-handed sword
Did not fall from anyone’s hands
At that miraculous sight,
As the head rolled over upon
Its wide-eyed face, and fell
Into the inadequate grave

He had dug for himself, under pressure.
Yet I put my flat hand to my eyebrows
Months later, to see him again
In the sun, when I learned how he died,
And imagined him, there,
Come, judged, before his small captors,

Doing all his lean tricks to amaze them—
The back somersault, the kip-up—
And at last, the stand on his hands,
Perfect, with his feet together,
His head down, evenly breathing,
As the sun poured from the sea

And the headsman broke down
In a blaze of tears, in that light
Of the thin, long human frame
Upside down in its own strange joy,
And, if some other one had not told him,
Would have cut off the feet

Instead of the head,
And if Armstrong had not presently risen
In kingly, round-shouldered attendance,
And then knelt down in himself
Beside his hacked, glittering grave, having done
All things in this life that he could.

James Dickey, “The Performance” from The Whole Motion: Collected Poems 1945-1992. Copyright © 1992 by James Dickey. Reprinted with the permission of Wesleyan University Press, www.wesleyan.edu/wespress.

Source: Poetry (July 1959).



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Saffron
Thu Apr 09, 2015 7:22 pm
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Post Re: Daily Poem
The Laughing Thrush

O nameless joy of the morning

tumbling upward note by note out of the night
and the hush of the dark valley
and out of whatever has not been there

song unquestioning and unbounded
yes this is the place and the one time
in the whole of before and after
with all of memory waking into it

and the lost visages that hover
around the edge of sleep
constant and clear
and the words that lately have fallen silent
to surface among the phrases of some future
if there is a future

here is where they all sing the first daylight
whether or not there is anyone listening

–W. S. Merwin, from his Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Shadow of Sirius



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DWill
Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:42 pm
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Post Re: Daily Poem
Now that's what I call a poem.



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Saffron
Tue Apr 21, 2015 6:03 am
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One more post ought to do it.

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Post Re: Daily Poem
:offtopic: :offtopic: :offtopic:

DWill, Saffron and Geo:-

We are thinking of having our first ever trip to the USA this October for my birthday. The big 7-0!!! Boooh!!!

But we are thinking of doing the Deep South Road trip - Atlanta, Charleston, Charlotte, Asheville, Nashville. Hurrah!!!

Is there any chance of meeting up? I would love to meet you all, but it is only when one is trying to decide on a trip that one realises how big the USA actually is.......

Anyway, I just wanted to dip my toe into the water.......to see what the chances of meeting up might be.....


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Only those become weary of angling who bring nothing to it but the idea of catching fish.

He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad....

Rafael Sabatini


Fri May 15, 2015 9:51 am
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Post Re: Daily Poem
Penelope wrote:
:offtopic: :offtopic: :offtopic:

DWill, Saffron and Geo:-

We are thinking of having our first ever trip to the USA this October for my birthday. The big 7-0!!! Boooh!!!

But we are thinking of doing the Deep South Road trip - Atlanta, Charleston, Charlotte, Asheville, Nashville. Hurrah!!!

Is there any chance of meeting up? I would love to meet you all, but it is only when one is trying to decide on a trip that one realises how big the USA actually is.......

Anyway, I just wanted to dip my toe into the water.......to see what the chances of meeting up might be.....


I would love to meet you! Asheville is a wonderful town. My daughter has been living there and has temporarily left to be in Alaska for 5 months. If you were in Asheville in October I would definitely make a trip down. I live in Virginia - not too far from Washington, DC. I would encourage you to include DC on your agenda. All the sites are free and October will be a nice month to be visiting. Keep me posted about your trip.



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Penelope
Fri May 15, 2015 3:57 pm
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Post Re: Daily Poem
Thanks Saffron - I will keep you posted.

The trouble is I love India so much and would love to go back.......but, I don't want to die never having been to the USA.......


I don't care much for hamburgers and pizza......and I definitely don't think I'd like Las Vegas.....but I am very tempted by the trips which offer to show you the desert......and they all wind up in Vegas....

I want to see all of it really.......but we like history and food and nature......and though I know there are lots of beautiful and historic places in the US......and I know there is excellent food in abundance.....there is lots of gaudy loudness too......which I would like to avoid. Your tip about Asheville was noted and much appreciated.


_________________
Only those become weary of angling who bring nothing to it but the idea of catching fish.

He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad....

Rafael Sabatini


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Sun May 17, 2015 7:15 am
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Post Re: Daily Poem
Hi all! First time contributor- this is by a new poet Ronaq Mathur from the book Rambles and Little Things. Short part of his poem: Lads and Ladies

Lads and ladies brace yourselves
Or else you’ll never see,
The mysteries in the lemony goodness
Not just your coffee and tea

Burgers, nachos, tequila and rum,
You’re essentials to say the least,
But get a grip and seize it now,
Or you won’t even see the feast

Ladies and lads, now there’s a twist,
That’ll make many a fine man mad,
But hey, there’s change, or so I like to think,
The pruning of a bygone fad,

Slightly more contemporary twist on the phrase "when life gives you lemons," and brings up modern day issues as well- have a read!



Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:22 am
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