Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Notes For Echo Lake 4


I will lobby for this poem the rest of my life. When I first came across it sometime in the late 80s, it, well, changed something in me. It caused me to approach perception differently. So, today, since I’m busy and can’t think of anything to say, I’ll pos it again. It’s the poem of our age. We all exist in its shadow.



Notes for Echo Lake 4
Michael Palmer


Who did he talk to


Did she trust what she saw


Who does the talking


Whose words formed awkward curves


Did the lion finally talk


Did the sleeping lion talk


Did you trust a north window


What made the dog bark


What causes a grey dog to bark


What does the juggler tell us


What does the juggler’s redness tell us


Is she standing in an image


Were they lost in the forest


Were they walking through a forest


Has anything been forgotten


Did you find it in the dark


Is that one of them new atomic-powered wristwatches


Was it called a talking song


Is that an oblong poem


Was poetry the object


Was there once a road here ending at a door


Thus from bridge to bridge we came along


Did the machine seem to talk


Did he read from an empty book


Did the book grow empty in the dark, grey felt hat blowing down the street, arms pumping back and forth, legs slightly bowed


Are there fewer ears than songs


Did he trust a broken window


Did he wake beneath a tree in the recent snow


Whose words formed difficult curves


Have the exaggerations quieted down


The light is lovely on trees which are not large


My logic is all in the melting-pot


My life now is very economical


I can say nothing of my feeling about space


Nothing could be clearer that what you see on this wall


Must we give each one a name


Is it true they all have names


Would it not have been simpler


Would it not have been simpler to begin


Were there ever such buildings


I must remember to mention the trees


I must remember to invent some trees


Who told you these things


Who taught you how to speak


Who taught you not to speak


Whose is the voice that empties

10 Comments:

At 7/27/2010 6:56 PM, Blogger Nate said...

Such a great poem--it's been so long since I read it. Thank you!

 
At 7/27/2010 7:08 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

I'm never far away from it. For me, it's the light in the room. It doesn't make the room. It's the light in the room.

It's a big room. Plenty of things are in there. But this is the light in the room.

 
At 7/28/2010 3:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reminds me a lot of Ron Silliman!

adam strauss

 
At 7/28/2010 3:44 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Don't let Ron Silliman hear you say that!

 
At 7/29/2010 1:14 AM, Blogger Louise Mathias said...

I've read this poem a few times in the past, but this is the first time that the light came on for me. Thanks for posting.

 
At 7/29/2010 6:40 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Louise,

Absolutely. I know what you mean.

 
At 7/31/2010 9:57 PM, Anonymous Kazim said...

O I love this poem. And another like it for me is Underneath (13) by Jorie Graham.

 
At 8/02/2010 11:04 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Kazim,

Thanks for that. I haven't thought of that Graham poem in years.

 
At 8/02/2010 11:26 AM, Blogger Jordan said...

I hear a lot of Laurie Anderson in it now.

 
At 8/02/2010 11:45 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Ew. How funny!

 

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