Robin Blaser
from Image-Nations 5-14 and Uncollected Poems
from The Holy Forest
(C) 2009 Estate of Robin Blaser. Used by permission.
Image Nation 5 (erasure

as the image wears away
there is a wind in the heart

the translated men
disappear into what they have

rocking ihe heart     a childish man
entangles   an absence    a still-life
at the edge of his body
erasing the body of those opposites
who are companions
and also horizons in one another's
eyes    at the ends of the world

the words do not end      but come back
from the adventure
                                    the body is at the edge
of their commotion
                                    the nonsense
the marvellous clarity
                                     in the pool of the

we quarrel over the immortal Word,
many times one falls out of the mortal
there suddenly     the missing    outward

o we do in all things
walk contrary to the world

a Nervalian movement     of
astonishment     an arm around
a hollyhock      or foxglove,
as if we dressed in them,
a flowered man      the bees
disturb     the stillness      seeking
sweetness in the pockets
an art as natural as lunch poems
or an extravagant        speaking     out of
the gnostic horse's mouth

a translation of oneself into the Other

                                                 perched among words
this technē      binding the heart
like small poems read from
vast stages    the images of the war
in Vietnam       burn up      out of the
              where they are not
added to the real
                               but compose it
where the body
in bubbles of fat
and re     opens
into something
without lineaments

traces    the old Bedouin poets
called them     encampments           of
what was
                    a movement
the seven poems,      called golden,
give the same pattern
of this movement

I stop over the encampment
before it wears away
I tell you of my prowess
in love                to gain your attention
at the edge of this
a torrent
            and then traces
of wild beasts drowned
in the watercourse     lay
like drawn bulbs of wild onions

the day lightning split the last
big Douglas fir   on this street
all the houses filled with
a pale-green,    luminous
I stood up from my work table
for the house to flame

this co-herence    falls, like rain,
into the syllables
                             this in-herence
of a golden poem
blood, dancers,
                                and whirling
drunken lives
                                into a tense
               of a hollyhock

Mallarmé said l'immortelle
is missing from our speech
the constant
                                           of a finitude
which re     opens
backward    with primal elements,
syllables    of
                             a longing
for completion

the task of a man    and his words
is at the edge
                     where  we  are
translated    restless    men
the quarrel over the immortal language,
one may believe in a god-language
behind us,      but god moves to the end
of our sentences
                              where words     foment
a largeness
                         of visible
and invisible worlds
they are a commotion
of one form

the voice is recognizable
as fragments
of a greater language
a live and changing

following men's hearts
in the world    sharp
and bird-throated

I turn     to answer     the goldsmith's  
hammer     down the street


day and night   awake  confounding
the fish and the gods 

                          I sent tidings to a star         
                          for you                       

'Present my care'     I said    
                          the star could recognize
                          your moon-like form

I bent my head over the words
I sent    

'Take that care to the sun,   the rocks
and the gold'

I stepped back         shameless      and showed
the holes in my breast to the star

'Give news of me to the Belovèd'
I said

I rocked my heart
the child was so restless

I look for the Cup-Bearer

the Belovèd     is the murmur
inside       the work
at the edge
                       of the words

the silence       is the Other
at the edge       of my words


the words drink us up

who is speaking?

dear beings, I can feel your hands