Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Two Poems: William Everson

I have been granted permission to publish some poems by William Everson in Elegant Thorn Review. I did my master's thesis on Everson and was fortunate enough to meet him on a couple of occasions before his death in 1994.

This first poem is the title poem from Everson's first book.

These Are the Ravens

These are the ravens of my soul,
Sloping above the lonely fields
And cawing, cawing.
I have released them now,
And sent them wavering down the sky,
Learning the slow witchery of the wind,
And crying on the farthest fences of the world.

This poem is from The Residual Years, the single volume originally published by Everson's Untide Press -- a hand-press he founded while serving as a conscientious objector in WWII -- that became the title for the first volume of the collected poems, published in definitive edition by Black Sparrow/Castle Peak in 1997.

The Approach

Breaking back from the sea we ran through low hills,
The long deserted pavement falling and winding,
Lonesome farms in their locked valleys,
The coast range, ancient even as mountains,
Moulded by wind.

Till inland we curved to the far converging city,
Seeing it laid at the hill's heel,
Whirlpooled, the long lines of its power,
Beacons for planes revolving the dusk,
The black trails of concrete slipping down grade
To the first clusters, to the city,
Thick in the gloom with its few lights showing,
With its veils, its myriad roofs,
And its heavy pounding heart.

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