“Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery…”  Perhaps.  Some time ago I found myself reading/trying to decipher, some of Linda Gregg’s work.  I come away from my experiment in imitation-in-order-to-understand, more confused, really.  I have absolutely no idea what Gregg is doing, or what Graham and others are doing in burying imagery under abstraction.  I wanted to see if I could take several of her poems and make use of their formulas– in the first case of the “When I say x, I mean y”– and I come away feeling that the original is precious, i.e. a kind of preening sophistry– big words, big ideas, half-grounded in concretion.  Sound and fury going where?

I ran across her poem Resurrection and it baffled me too.  So I wrote Fiate Vitae– revealing myself as a hopeless Romantic as in hybrid nature poet….

Two Derivations from Linda Gregg


After “The Apparent”

When I say invisibility I don’t mean not seeing.

I mean the way a ghost is made when a heart is pierced by an arrow.

As the moon dies when we look at at. In the meaning

of indivisibility by intention, which we translate as the keeping

of something whole, an orange, an old spoon.

The space in which we love may be a distance

even when presence holds it, unbreachable and sobbing.

Translucent in the way we see old hands

As we become more like the mountains:

I mean incandescence. As when my dog and I

find each other. Oh, there is no turning away

from love

back into the half-dark of the fields.

It is all fall down as we burn.


Fiat Vitae– Let There Be Life– after Gregg’s “The Resurrection”


Let dawn break upon the fields.

Let underground water

perfuse the rippling grass.

Permit the grey, high-hipped mares

to sate themselves

So that their dream-weary aging

ends. Let the rotting, leaning posts last

one more year, even though there will be a forfeiture

of the symmetry of fence and sky. Let all things

endure until we do not. Let everything thrive

the purple crowns of alfalfa, the cattails in the creek

all in its season within us, life unto life,

quickened, luminous,

Imperfect and redeeming