April #6 First Lines

Cento James Tate (None of us have felt good)

 
None of us have felt good this year. Hotels,
hospitals, jails. What good is life without music?
It’s a tiny noise, don’t you see? like a glum cricket.
“This soup is cold”:  “I hang my head”:  “She tells me…”

Language was almost impossible in those days.
So what do you do? What? Why should you believe
in magic? Poor God was always there. Love is not worth
so much. A dream of life a dream of birth.

Here the tendons of the swans’ wings stretch…
This is a meditation: In the early evening
rain, where the railroad meets the sea
there is a man carrying an armload of lilacs.
Stars fell all night. The heart that resembles
a cave, the motel, was made for love.

Sources

None of us have felt good this year …The Immortals

Hotels, hospitals, jails           …The Private Intrigue of Melancholy

What good is life without music … Read the Great Poets

It’s a tiny noise       … Sensitive Ears

Don’t you see? … Alternatives

Like a glum cricket             … Flight

This soup is cold           The Soup of Venus

I hang my head 102       … The Delicate Riders

She tells me           …The Mirror

Language was almost impossible in those days … Poem ( Language…_)

So what do you do? What         … How the Friends Met

Why should you believe in magic       … Consumed

Poor God was always there         … The Tabernacle

Love is not worth so much         … Coda

A dream of life a dream of birth       … Wait for Me

Here the tendons of the swans’ wings stretch …Images of Little Compton, Rhode Island

This is a meditation       … First Lesson

In the early evening rain       … The Tryst

Where the railroad meets the sea       … Pride’s Crossing

There is a man carrying an armload of lilacs   …The Indian Undertaker

Stars fell all night       … Five Years Old

The heart that resembles a cave       … A Guide to the Stone Age

The motel was made for love      …Up Here

 

 

 

 

 

Old Greece

Language was almost impossible in those days
They didn’t have much trouble
Homer was a ventriloquist
___________________

Truth

A sodium pentathol landscape.
I heard someone coming:
There is a man carrying an armload of lilacs.
When the nomads come over the hill
then we’ll get us some wine and spare ribs

___________________

Thin Walls

Hotels,
hospitals,
jails.
The motel was made for love.
Through the ceiling comes:
“I think you are in love with more
“Don’t you see?
“What good is life without music?”

A silence that tunnels forever
The heart that resembles a cave

In a weird, forlorn voice.
“Love is not worth so much.”
It’s a tiny noise
Like a glum cricket.
O faint sad noises.
Stars fell all night.

Inside the old chair
The long wake continues

___________________

The Children of God, They Have to Talk

This soup is cold, she tells me.
She tells me: None of us have felt good this year,
Brushfires all around
We travelled down to see your house;
His clock has stopped watching;
The child begins to walk.
This is a meditation.

I am walking a trail, she tells me,
Where the railroad meets the sea.
The old buccaneers are leaving
In the early evening rain.
When did you begin your quest?

When I drink (I hang my head) I look up and see—
Poor God was always there. He had no past
and he certainly—So what do you do? What?
(A silence that tunnels forever)

If you would disappear at sea
Browsing among the zero hours
A dream of life a dream of birth
Why should you believe in magic?

Here the tendons of the swans’ wings stretch
There are birds larger than us, I know that.
____________________________________________________________________

From James Tate Selected Poems

Language was almost impossible in those days
159 …Poem(Language was almost impossible in those days )
They didn’t have much trouble
122  …Teaching the Ape to Write Poems
Homer was a ventriloquist;
24    … Uncle
___________________

A sodium pentathol landscape
33          … Today I Am Falling
I heard someone coming
94          … Breathing
There is a man carrying an armload of lilacs
48 …The Indian Undertaker
When the nomads come over the hill
71          … (When the nomads come over the hill)
then we’ll get us some wine and spare ribs
90  … Lewis and Clark Overheard in Conversation

___________________

Hotels, hospitals, jails
99        … The Private Intrigue of Melancholy
The motel was made for love
42        … Up Here
Through the ceiling comes
22        … Grace
I think you are in love with more
70        … Brother of the Unknown Ancient Man
Don’t you see?
76        … Alternatives
What good is life without music
146      … Read the Great Poets
A silence that tunnels forever
72        … Poem (A silence that tunnels forever )
The heart that resembles a cave
100      … A Guide to the Stone Age

Love is not worth so much
44        … Coda
It’s a tiny noise
140      … Sensitive Ears
In a weird, forlorn voice
61        … The President Slumming
Like a glum cricket
21        … Flight
O faint sad noises
155      … The Glassy Harbor
Stars fell all night
183      … Five Years Old
Inside the old chair
54        … The Trap
The long wake continues
49        … The Initiation

___________________

This soup is cold
120      … The Soup of Venus
She tells me
29        … The Mirror
She tells me
29        … The Mirror
None of us have felt good this year
121      … The Immortals
Brushfires all around
125      … Cycle of Dust
We travelled down to see your house
62        … Failed Tribute to the Stonemason of Tor House,  Robinson Jeffers
His clock has stopped watching
172      … Time X
The child begins to walk
182      … Poem for the Sandman
This is a meditation
119      … First Lesson

I am walking a trail
17        … Intimidations of an Autobiography
She tells me
29        … The Mirror
Where the railroad meets the sea
47        … Pride’s Crossing
The old buccaneers are leaving
20        … The Move
In the early evening rain
45        … The Tryst
When did you begin your quest?
105      … Absences

When I drink
93        … Contagion
I hang my head
102      … The Delicate Riders
I look up and see
32        … Late Harvest
Poor God was always there
30        … The Tabernacle
He had no past and he certainly
46        … Pity Ascending with the Fog
So what do you do? What
25        … How the Friends Met
A silence that tunnels forever
72        … Poem (A silence that tunnels forever )

If you would disappear at sea
103      … (If you would disappear at sea )
Browsing among the zero hours
124      … Saint John of the Cross in Prison
A dream of life a dream of birth
101      … Wait for Me
Why should you believe in magic
50        … Consumed
Here the tendons of the swans’ wings stretch
52 … Images of Little Compton, Rhode Island
There are birds larger than us, I know that.
60  …The Eagle Exterminating Company

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