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Carla Sarett

All Understood Too Late

Now daylight’s left the sky,
All things speakable and unspeakable jumble in evil fury.
They are scattered now dead or silent.

Small denials of the day.
On the broken sofa in my study,
Over the horizon of the page.

I think my wounds are yet in store for me.
All understood too late.

Our possible life.
It drowns me like nostalgia.
An imperial affliction.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight.

Fly, guiding threads, fly spindle.
All understood too late.

Too bad, that now I know what I did not know.
How the constellations vanish at fixed times
And life is too much like a pathless wood.

Old scars ripped open over and over.
A rumor fashioned out of empty air.
Things we betray.

The less I want, the more I seem to have.
All understood too late.

Our luck is little more than a short reprieve
That the gods allow.
All forests. Stintless stars.

I’ve learned it all too well. To stand up bravely,
Banish air from air.
on the starless waters, towards the lights,

This, then, is the gift the world has given me–
Not a map of choices but of variations.
All understood too late.

Fly, guiding threads, fly spindle.
Then the voices rising and falling in sudden harmony
In ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds.


Source & Method

I have been immersed in classical texts, and started to combine lines with beat and contemporary poets, to see how they “marry.” To my surprise, the answer is very well. Sources: Sophocles/Oedipus the King (Robert Fitzgerald)/ Virgil, The Aeneid (Robert Fitzgerald)/Catullus 64 and 66 (Daisy Dunn/ author)/Diane di Prima “First Snow, Kerhonksen”/ Philip Levine “Alone”/Raymond Carver “Still Looking Out for Number One”/Linda Pastan “The Collected Poems” / Horace “To Maecenus” (David Ferry/author)/ Jack Gilbert “Going There”/ Pablo Neruda “The Citizen”/Emily Dickinson “There’s a Certain Slant of Light” and “Banish Air from Air”/Robert Frost “Birches” and “Apple Picking”/Euripides Helen (Rachel Hadas); Adrienne Rich “Dreamwood”/ Sophocles, Antigone (Seamus Heaney)/Alan Ginsberg “Howl”/Homer/The Iliad (Robert Fagles)/GeraldStern “Magritte Dancing”/Wallace Stevens “The Idea of Order at Key West”

Carla Sarett is a poet and fiction writer based in San Francisco. She awaits publication of her first novel, A Closet Feminist (Unsolicited Press) and a poetry collection, She Has Visions (Main Street Rag) in 2022.

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Issue 27