Friday, June 4, 2010

Gerald Stern's "Weeping and Wailing"

Weeping and Wailing
I like the way my little harp makes trees
leap, how putting the metal between my teeth
makes half the animals in my backyard quiver,
how plucking the sweet tongue make the stars
live together in love and ecstasy.

I bend my face and cock my head. My eyes
are open wide listening to the sound.
My hand goes up and down like a hummingbird.
My mouth is opening and closing, I am singing
in harmony, I am weeping and wailing.
Gerald Stern

"Weeping and Wailing" is from Gerald Stern's collection Paradise Poems, which just last week was added to The Near Perfect Books of Poetry list, which will be surpassing the 250 title mark presently.

I added this one personally as I have once again been reading Stern's selected poems entitled This Time in preparation for the "3 Poems By Discussion" next week at the library. While reading the selection there from Paradise Poems, I found myself saying, well, this one's great and this one's great etc. and every one was great, so I wanted to see which ones were not included and bought the original. It soon became apparent that nearly all the poems that weren't included were pretty great, too, hence the addition.

awaiting the stars--
even a turtle cools
his behind
translated by David G. Lanoue



Charles Gramlich said...

A very fine poem indeed. I'm not very familiar with her work. I've read poems here and there of hers but never a collection.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Thanks, Charles ... though I'm sure Gerry would take it as a compliment, from the picture above you can see he is decidedly male.

Ed Baker said...

HECK! I'd recognize Allen Ginsberg....anywhere.
(they were friends and often GS was mistaken for AG... must've been the noses?
check out 'Ginsberg and I' in
Stern's "What I can't Bear Losing"

Stern was also very close to Jack Gilbert in this memwoire Jack turns up ... page 65 and do check out that fun ride (w Jack riding 'shot-gun')
through France... it s somewhere in the book.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Ed, thanks for the tip, I've been meaning to get to Stern's memoir. Just the nudge I need ...