Saturday, August 2, 2014

intermission: bowls across poetry and prose

Remixing "The Poems of Our Climate," by Wallace Stevens (1977), and "Janus," by Ann Beattie (1986), because they both had white bowls.

The bowl was perfect.
The imperfect is our paradise.
It was once placed on a cherry table beneath a Bonnard still life, where it held its own
in the room more like a snowy air, reflecting snow.
It had been perfectly placed, that the sunlight struck the bluer part of it. 

The wonderful thing about the bowl... 
was that it was both subtle and noticeable--a paradox of a bowl.
The imperfect is our paradise.
Its glaze was the color of cream and seemed to glow no matter what light it was placed in.
A bowl of white, cold, a cold porcelain, low and round.
In its way, it was... the world cut in half, deep and smoothly empty.
Clear water in a brilliant bowl, a world of white, a world of clear water, brilliant-edged.

Could it be that she had some deeper connection with the bowl...
She was sure that the bowl brought her luck.
In time, she dreamed of the bowl.
And made it fresh in a world of white.
It came into sharp focus and startled her for a moment.

A bowl was a poor conductor of electricity: it would not be hit by lightning. 
Still one would want more, one would need more,
More than a world of white and snowy scents.

Say even that this complete simplicity
(they always faltered when they tried to say something)
Stripped one of all one’s torments,
Yet the idea of damage persisted.
She asked her husband to please not drop his house key in it.

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