gall and gumption

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Alan Stephens 1925-2009

50. Night-Piece

Lying in the long dark, insomniac,
I see it clearly, sea and beach and air
And a red winter sun, down low, for fire
For the fourth element made out by the Greek
On Sicily's coast two dozen centuries back--
Fire that'll turn me into atmosphere
After I'm dead, and ashes tossed out where
Maybe they'll wash ashore. I hear gulls creak,
And put my being in with the elements
We share with the whole show, rather than
With the odd creature in it that is man
Or with my self, still odder . . . till the tense
Weavings of wakefulness begin to fray
Loosen and come apart and float away--


from In Plain Air

8 Comments:

At 3:39 PM, Anonymous max said...

so pleased to read this poem, thanks. I just opened my office window and saw, still see,outside, a cat, cream-colored, with ring stripes, orange-colored, on its tail. Now the dog has just come into the room and the cat, sensing it, took off. Probably I don't have to say, its quiet alertness makes me think of Al. "So I became a Cat that Walks by Himself," he said once, as you'll remember.--Max

 
At 6:53 PM, Blogger Mandrake said...

I loved Mr. Stephens. So soft spoken, but still so intense and uncompromising. Thanks for the poem.

 
At 2:49 PM, Anonymous former student said...

Thank you for this. Just heard of his passing and this was the first place I saw mention of it online. Do you know if an obituary has been printed anywhere?

 
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