Sunday, 30 November 2014

Day 864: RIP Mark Strand

Mark Strand 1934-2014
 'When I read poetry, I want to feel myself suddenly larger . . . in touch with—or at least close to—what I deem magical, astonishing. I want to experience a kind of wonderment. And when you report back to your own daily world after experiencing the strangeness of a world sort of recombined and reordered in the depths of a poet’s soul, the world looks fresher somehow. Your daily world has been taken out of context. It has the voice of the poet written all over it, for one thing, but it also seems suddenly more alive—not as routinely there.'  ~ Mark Strand

I was very saddened to hear of the death of Mark Strand yesterday. Every time a poet dies, I think every other living poet and poetry lover feels their loss as that of a comrade, a mentor, an inspiration.

A former Poet Laureate of America, Strand was also a Pulitzer Prize winning poet. His 2007 collection of 'New Selected Poems' is a book I read every winter. He writes a lot about winter and a lot about death, his poems subtle and eloquent meditations on the human condition. You might be familiar most with his riotous ode to poetry: 'Eating Poetry', or the beautiful winter anthem: 'Lines for Winter' or 'The Coming of Light'. Rereading him now again, I will be posting more of his poems here over the next few weeks.

*(You can read the above mentioned poems and more here: Mark Strand.)

The End - Mark Strand

Not every man knows what he shall sing at the end,
Watching the pier as the ship sails away, or what it will seem like
When he’s held by the sea’s roar, motionless, there at the end,
Or what he shall hope for once it is clear that he’ll never go back.

When the time has passed to prune the rose or caress the cat,
When the sunset torching the lawn and the full moon icing it down
No longer appear, not every man knows what he’ll discover instead.
When the weight of the past leans against nothing, and the sky

Is no more than remembered light, and the stories of cirrus
And cumulus come to a close, and all the birds are suspended in flight,
Not every man knows what is waiting for him, or what he shall sing
When the ship he is on slips into darkness, there at the end.

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