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Discourse: for Stanley Rosen. (Notes & Comments: June 2003).


 As to whether there persists--enlighten me--
 a dialectic: labour into desire.
 Forgive my small vocabulary that tries
 and abides your patience. What a wonder's
 man the philosopher set on his throne.
 What a wonder he is, and how
 abysmal. I would not have you say
 I speak ungratefully; or that there's self
 going spare in our unsparing tribute.
 Arbeitsknecht by adoption, I never
 slam down advice, even to shake the building.
 Perhaps (but not likely) I may be still
 a whizz at ordinary language and you
 mishear things.


 No, put this way: cancel, expunge, annul,
 self-reference. Philosophy keeps up
 embarrassment and expense. I'd quit us
 of further scars had these now been incurred.
 You're magisterial in judgement's gorge
 where the rocks are at all angles and the stream
 huggers its way through:
 let's flip with self-projection's paper boat.
 Language not revealing to the elect
 only; and wild descenders pierced by good.
 So few of us absolved when what we write
 sets us to rights on some scam-scale of justice.
 You're magisterial in your own conviction.
 And a clown with it, and a judge of clowns.


 Susurrations of winter: voicing stems mistune
 a glass harmonica at my good ear.
 The alien's close to home, the changeling's not
 too much a prodigy or wastrel; lovers
 and children not inimical by rote.
 Something here even so. Our well dug-in
 language pitches us as it finds--
 I tell myself
 don't wreck a good phrase simply to boost sense--
 granted its dark places, the fabled burden;
 its loops and extraordinary progressions,
 its mere conundrums forms and rites of discourse;
 its bleak littoral swept by bursts of sunlight;
 its earthen genius auditing the spheres.

Geoffrey Hill's poem will be part of a Festschrift in honor of Stanley Rosen, edited by Damjan de Krnjevic-Miskovic and Nalin Ranasinghe, forthcoming from St. Augustine Press in 2004.
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Author:Hill, Geoffrey
Publication:New Criterion
Article Type:Poem
Date:Jun 1, 2003
Previous Article:Dreiser in 1925. (Notes & Comments: June 2003).
Next Article:The elusive truth. (London journal).

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