Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Silent Lover - Louis Simpson

Louis Simpson (1923 - ).  I haven't read much of the recent Simpson, but have always liked his work and appreciate it more now.  If it makes sense, in earlier years I wanted to be dazzled by a poet's visible command of the language, control of poetic forms, and  the complexity in the imagery.  

Now, I am also drawn to poems and language that is "simple" yet require more from me: to slow down, to reflect and allow my own experiences to inform my connection to the poem.  I know some of it comes from reading Chinese poetry and some from being older.  There is a richness to this one .....if you don't rush and let it meld with you. 

It's a poem that goes with sitting on the porch of a beach house in the late afternoon sipping  tea.  Or, for myself, sipping a 20 yr. old single cask bottling of Highland Park and recalling the urban hike to its distillery on an overcast August day after the ferry ride from Aberdeen to Kirkwall….. and the memory nestled within that memory: my thoughts during that hike, which included the beautiful last line of this poem and how it can stand alone, a complete poem just by itself.

The Silent Lover

She sighs. What shall I say?
For beauty seems to grow
In silence, when the heart is faint and slow.

Sing, sing…How shall I sing?
In silent eyes, where clouds and islands gaze,
The waves bring Eros in.

I think the rustling of her clothes
Is like the sea, and she
A wild white bird,

And love is like the sighing of the sand.
                                                                                         Louis Simpson - American

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