Jared Carter – Five Poems
Let us not dwell on such things now,
the old wolf said.
Their coming made it clear somehow
we would be dead;
Not one of us survived. We had
gone up into
The farther range; they were still mad
to kill. I knew
Your father once, who tended sheep;
I came to fear
His small campfires. He sought to keep
the darkness near.
No, not in that old house, there were
no spirits there,
But some days, down long corridors
that led to where
The sunlight reached – at times it seemed
the pocket doors
Were burnished by the random gleam
of hardwood floors,
And light that fell from leaded panes
above the stairs
Showed places where the picture-frames
had left faint squares.
Now you begin to speak, in ways
that had been lost
Until this moment, when the play
of light across
The paneled room transposes. Gold
leaf hammered blue
Becomes translucent, and the old
ways tunnel through.
Not purpose, not the trumpet’s call
Simply the past made more, made all
by reaching out.
Sometimes a single word is all
you have. Begin
With that. The stained glass in the hall
will still let in
Some light, and singularity
is but a step
Or two away. Ascend, and be
All redirection, seek to learn
what waits within
The simplest divagation. Turn,
and turn again.
He was the king. So what was I
to do? Turn him
Away? Plead innocent? Or sigh
that in those grim
And chthonic depths, I had no power?
It comes to you
Regardless of the place, or hour,
and to be true
Is all you have. When Samuel came
up through the ground,
Saul knew that he was lost, defamed.
But I was found.
Author’s Statement on Beauty
“There is no excellent beauty,” according to Francis Bacon, “that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.” Much later, Harold Bloom has suggested that great poetry is inherently strange.
It is left to each of us to determine what strangeness might be in a work of art. I particularly admire the strange beauty in the work of artists on the order of Louis Kahn, Louise Nevelson, and Max Beckmann.