Kalev’s Anti-Blog: A Poem

Across from the Roslyn Mill

By Kalev Pehme

Have you thought O dreamer that it may be all maya, illusion?

                —Walt Whitman

 

At Cedarmere where Byrant lived, lilies

Impressionistically now splotch the pond.

There are many red, ripe, wild strawberries.

There are waterfowl near, and then beyond

I hear Whitman singing and I respond

With horseshoe crabs, seagulls, and glacial rocks

From a harbor of which I am so fond.

(Long Island where they both lived as unorthodox

Poets no longer reads after a few epochs.)

 

Oddly, Roslyn evokes the transcendence

Of the Nineteenth’s romantics who dreamed

Of a New World bringing independence

To all the globe. George Washington redeemed

Himself over there and now he is esteemed,

A name for a restaurant and hotel.

One time local shellfish could still be steamed

Without fear of pollution; now, of course, the swell

Of chemical wastes infects where all creatures dwell.

 

“As the old mother sways her to and fro

Singing her husky song…” I hear it still

And see the future’s “clef” in audio

And in the constant turning of the mill,

Antique ornament preserved to fulfill

Nostalgia’s suburban need. They have missed

What Whitman would have seen next to this kill:

The greatest wheel has fallen from the sky; its grist

Is ground in starless nights in cycles that persist.

 

Like Tibetan prayers, invisible, breezes

In the trees and nightmares for the dreamers.

The dark ebb and flow never appeases

This omenless world and never freezes

What is below, rolling like whales in deep

Sluggish myth whose power never eases

The sense that something weird arises from the sleep

To stare at you from where all your doubled selves weep.

 

“To-day a rude brief recitative,” writes

Whitman of ships sailing into this port

Or to the further reaches of lights

Illuminating all the seas. The short

Stanza reminds us of how this resort

Was reached by city summerers long

Before suburbs spread into nature’s court.

Ferry after white ferry brought the happy throng,

Women with parasols when innocence was strong.

 

Bryant was dead; Whitman was old, dying,

In New Jersey. What’s irreversible

Is repeated, death after death, crying,

No, caroling the negligible,

What we give up to abominable

Sacred coincidence, a zodiac

For the petting zoo, untranslatable,

Bequeathed to dirt and grass, dozing amnesiac,

Somewhere waiting for you to wake and bring him back.

 

Paying homage to the old mill, repeats

Again, again, the star’s spiritual

You sing of yourself to future heartbeats

On this strange Paumanok of asphalt streets,

Huge cars, and tract houses, spirits of ghosts

Detached like memory’s lapse, its own deceit.

They wait to rematerialize, the past’s guideposts,

To emerge as its murderous, angelic hosts.

 

George Washington slept here, the legend states

Truthfully. Roslyn returns to the thought

Of its minutiae of death and birth dates.

Fulgurations of thunderstorms have brought

Fresh ozone to the air; the day is fraught

With discontinuity; it’s the right

Moment, precise, order of guilt, that’s wrought

In the metal wheel, precessed, leaving a slight

Extra, a leaf of grass, to mow away in spite.

 

Every symbol is a specter of this park

Dissolving in its reassembled pieces

Bryant and Whitman’s poetical spark,

Grinding it down under the hard creases

Of the millstone surface, our caprices

Notwithstanding. Walt can’t escape this turn

No matter how joy and sorrow ceases.

All things change; the world must be destroyed in modern

Revolution—victims fill all with unconcern.

 

The beaches are quiet, while car horns blare

In the distance on the viaduct way.

The rush-hour traffic stalled goes nowhere.

The grass is green. Creation is the tear

At the origin of things. So what’s new?

Perhaps this park is meant to be aware,

Fearful there is no cycle, only impromptu

Chaos, nothing, even if the millwheel turns true.


 

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About Kalev Pehme

I am an icastic artist and a Straussian. I am not a conservative or neocon Straussian. Sadly, there are too many of them. My interests are diverse, however, and sometimes quite arcane. I have a deep interest in Daoism, Indo-Aryan religion, Buddhism, Plato, Aristotle, and whole lot more. I love good poetry. I also enjoy all things ancient. And I would like to meet any woman who is born on May 29, 1985.
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