Saturday, July 22, 2006

"Buckets of oats"   [rhymed riff]

I'm not making this up: "there's no more reliable way of initially entering a poet's private domain than by examining what he or she rhymes with what." This from Brad Leithauser, reviewing the latest slender (78 pages for $20) offering from Seamus Heaney in last Sunday's New York Times. In other news, the latest way to test out the reliability of your new hybrid vehicle is to gauge how many buckets of oats it will eat.
        -- Ron Silliman

But what will I rhyme with buckets of oats?
    my donkey is so lackadaisical!
the sense although lucid   the thing it connotes
    this quasi-equine geophysical
metaphorical burro provokes
deadpan funnybones while it evokes
global meme of an old transportation
long since left in a dustbin of motes

for history zooms every elsewhere --
yet could someone still saunter by goats?
all the overtones hid in plain notes
filling rafters with shaded elation
glinting manuscript-illumination
still remembering what tale it totes?

[caveat and disclaimer: I have not, so far, gotten into Seamus Heaney's poetry. Though I feel as if I should be able to like it (or at least consider it), so far I have been unable even to read it. I deem this a slightly shameful personal failing; and perhaps the malady will eventually be overcome. This noted limitation admittedly forecloses any-much scope for my ability to comment intelligently on Heaney-specific facets of the above. This anecdotal foible notwithstanding, I feel there perchance yet remain reaches and dimensions for the scope of riff, play, irony, insinuation, and various other-such salient stuff.]


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