Friday, July 01, 2016

`Now It Is Gone'

Geoffrey Hill is dead. He celebrated the treacheries and glories of language. In a fine late poem, "Discourse: For Stanley Rosen," collected in Without Title (2006), Hill writes of language: “its bleak littoral swept by bursts of sunlight.” Another meeting of sun and soil comes in “An Emblem,” from A Treatise of Civil Power (2007):

“Among the slag remonstrances of this land
memory reinterprets us, as with
a Heraclitean emblem. On a sudden,
sunslanting rain intensifies, the roses
twitch more rapidly, flights
of invisible wing-roots lift
from the lighter branches; a purple sky
ushering a rainbow. Now it is gone.”

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