Saturday Poem today is Miniature Poodle by C. K. Williams. (Bringing the count so far this year to women 10, men 23). As I don't know this poet's work, I had a quick spin round the internet and found him on poets.org. I only had time to listen to one poem so I chose My Mother's Lips. His voice is lovely, I felt a connection and wanted to read more of his poems.
When out and about on my own, as I was this morning in Chester, I can't be trusted not to go into a bookshop. So predictably, I went into Waterstones, only for a look, you understand.
Of course there was no harm in just popping upstairs for a peep at the poetry, to see what's what. And to see if there was anything by C. K. Williams, which there wasn't.
Then my eye snagged on Don Paterson, who I have mixed feelings about. The first of his poems I ever met was Imperial in Ruth Padel's 52 Ways of Looking At A Poem. I really didn't like this poem, a bit clever-clever and macho, so I left DP alone for a while. Some time later I read Why Do You Stay Up So Late, which I found beautiful and very moving. I warmed to him when I read Rain, the collection that this poem comes from.
So today I read the title poem from The Eyes - a collection of DP's versions (as opposed to translations) of poems by Antonio Machado, and the hairs stood up on the back of my neck. This made me think of Emily Dickinson's maxim that she knew what was poetry because of the sensation of the top of her head lifting off!
Spurred on by this experience, I took a look at Landing Light, by now moving towards an inevitable purchase. What finally made me buy Landing Light was that I noticed in it DP's version of Rilke's poem which I featured here yesterday. I just took it as a sign.
(Skimming through Ruth Padel's book when I started writing this post, I noticed that she analyses Harm by C. K. Williams. I look forward to reading her appreciation of this poet, which I must have overlooked, first time round...)
Archaic Torso of Apollo
You'll never know that terrific head,
or feel those eyeballs ripen on you -
yet something here keeps you in view,
as if his look had sunk inside
and still blazed on. Or the double axe
of the breast couldn't blind you, nor that grin
flash along the crease of the loins
down to the low centre of his sex.
Or else he'd sit, headless and halved,
his shoulders falling to thin air -
not shiver like the pelt of a wolf
or burst from his angles like a star:
for there is nowhere to hide, nothing here
that does not see you. Now change your life.