A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
Late August & I'm reading by flashlight thinking you were Brodsky's friend. 'Musée des Beaux Arts,' a poem I taught so often. I should know more. In boarding school, you were cheeky, untidy, the brightest boy around. What to make of that piling on of blankets, even a carpet, to stay warm. Art, you claimed: born of humiliation. You knew that early & you had the gift of double focus, of seeing the world with more than one lens. You committed to becoming not just a poet, but 'a great poet,' at Oxford. With Isherwood, explored Berlin, 'the buggers daydream,'then turned to teaching. Dry martinis as you crafted librettos with Kallman whom you loved to distraction. Eighty years ago you wrote a prophetic poem about dictators who hoped to bend nations to their will. Then disowned the poem, calling its language 'too high-flown.' Such a gift for friendship. I hadn't known it was Oliver Sacks who drove you to the airport as you left America for England, that last time.
Copyright 2019 Joan Bauer