Sunday, April 4, 2021



 


WHEN  ELEPHANTS LAST IN THE DOORYARD BLOOMED

 Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)


When elephants last in the dooryard bloomed

Brought forth from dusts and airing attics where they

roomed

For many a year and faded out the roses on their flanks

And sucked the dust and trod the ancient grass in ranks

Beyond our seeing, deep in jungles on our parlor floor,

These old familiar beasts we led into the light

And beat upon their pelts and hung them in the sight

of sun

Which glorious made the panoplies of thread.

What grandeur here!

What pomp of Hannibal and Rome and Alps,

Egyptian cerements and tombs, Troy's ruins, Delphic

glooms-

Across such arabesques as these once walked Victoria.

Now in the lost great animal boneyard these lively skins

are stretched,

Unravel, fall to pollen and to rust.  Sic transit gloria.

All this has passed, is dim as ill-recalled rococo

But in my youth I stomped out cinnamons from these

God-awful paths and raised up such a flour of scents

As would reel down kings and make rise up to kingship

Lunatic lepers and foul penitents.


Old creatures, slung upon a wire in wind and light

And years' ebbtide

I beat you gently with my howdah wire-racket beater,

Search tigers in the shade of your deep hills

And stand, a monarch made, along your blind impatient old

And slumbrous side,

And know that modern carpetings and rugs, so bland, 

so broad

So nothing, and so shallow

Were made for snails

And men who breakfast, lunch, and dine

Upon the safe, sure, ever-recurring marshmallow.


Still somewhere in this world 

Do elephants graze yards?

In far towns toward the East and North toward Michigan

Do grandmothers and boys go forth to lawns,

And lines strummed there 'twixt oak or elm and porch,

And tie thereon great beasts of Indian grace

Loomed taller than their heads?

Still on such days do heartbeats throng the town

Whee elderwitch and tads,

Where toms and great-grand-crones gone feverish with

sweat

Goad Time out of the warp and weave,

The tapestry of treaded hearthwarm woolen flesh,

Beat Time into the breeze and watch the billion footfalls

Sift clouds into the greening insufferable beauty of

young trees?

Do old and young still tend a common ground?

Vast panoply and firewalk spread of God's most patient

brute

Whose firecoal eyes observe and well-worn hide

Now feels the woman tire, so Boy takes up the beat:

Where one thump dies, another heart begins.

Along the cliff of dusty hide

From either end, with centuries between as well

as miles,

Old looks to young, young looks to old

And, pausing with their wands, 

Trade similar smiles.


This is from Bradbury's book of the same name, 143 pages of poems in the Knopf edition.  It's quite suggestive to me even though i don't follow all of it.  Ray was fascinated from and early age by carnivals and circuses and that sort of imagery weaves a thread through much of his writing.  He began his career writing horror stories, copying Poe and Lovecraft, and that sense of lurking doom never quite disappeared even in his science fiction.  Always something unseen, something just out of touch...  


NB:  my posting will be more irregular in the future due to time constraints, weariness with the computer ordering my life, and the feeling that darkness is becoming more visible around the edges of my life.  Still, look for me from time to time, i may be here, or, ghost-like, hiding in the desk-top corner watching you, haha...

16 comments:

  1. I understand how you must feel .... I too see shadow at the edges ... Curse the darkness ... light some candles .... be well, friend ....

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    1. tx, RT, you as well... i'll be around, just probably not quite as often. i guess i feel a bit breakish...

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  2. The poem is fun. Take that, Wordsworth!

    Enjoy your break or slow-down. I'll miss those posts you could have done, though!

    And happy Easter to you!

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    1. i liked it! more posts to come, just not so many...

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  3. A veritable delight for Springtime. I was not aware of Bradbury's poems; however, I am not surprised.
    And to you I wish a happy Easter!

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    1. Tx, James! i just ran across the collection some years back; intriguing verses, some of them...

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  4. I had no idea Bradbury was a poet. Carnivals are fascinating things. I really like his Illustrated Man stories and Something Wicked this Way Comes. Although they creep me out as well.

    I don't like hearing that you might be ailing? Praying for your health, your time and also Happy Easter!!

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    1. Martian Chronicles was my intro... i wore the print off the pages, haha... my health is fine; i just want to read in my own time and then post instead of feeling like i have to hurry up and finish so i can write a post about it... sometimes i get half way thru a book that i intended writing about only to realize that it wouldn't do so i have to look for another one. the weekly grind gets to be that, a grind, so i'm going to take my time and read what seems like a good one to post on and then do it... if all that makes any sense, haha... besides i want to enjoy reading, not feel like i have to do it...

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  5. I salute you for claiming your time with this blogging business! Also for giving us a poem in the first week of National Poetry Month.

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    1. "we aims to please" (Pogo via Walt Kelley)

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  6. Thank you for sharing this - I didn't know Bradbury wrote poems! I like this style very much, and the imagery of elephants and generations is so tangible here.

    Also, same on "computer ordering my life"... especially being at home all the time, it gets a bit overwhelming to be on the computer. I hope you have a restful change of pace, and hopefully our Northwest spring will allow for some getting outdoors. :)

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    1. Tx, Marian... everything from yardwork to longer books... one of those two i look forward to, haha...

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  7. Sometimes those breaks are necessary. We will be patiently awaiting your return and your wonderful reports <3

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    1. tx for the encouragement Sarah! i'll get right after it here any day now, lol...

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  8. Aw! I'll miss you but I understand not wanting to be a slave to reviews. I once tried to read and not do reviews but later I regretted it because I wanted to go back and read what I thought about the book. But just because it didn't work once, doesn't mean I might not try it again. Reading without reviewing still attracts me.

    The elephant reference reminded me of my mother; they were her favourite animal. Thanks for sharing the poem!

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    1. i liked it also, Cleo... sometimes my resolutions are written in sand... i just finished a book i'm going to post on today; maybe i just wanted to shake the chains of habit a bit... i don't always understand myself too good, lol...

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