Sunday, June 21, 2009

make it nuke


T.S. Eliot (looking back in a 1953 lecture) asserted that "[T]he starting-point of modern poetry is the group denominated 'imagist' in London about 1910." If that's true, then—

modern poetry begins with Pound's "In a Station of the Metro":

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

Pound's note on this poem quotes a trans. of a haiku ('The fallen blossom flies back to its branch: A butterfly.') by Arakida Moritake (1472-1549).

The fallen blossom soaring back to its branch: the petals on a rain-wet bough.

Both images kigo-ize Spring, the season of beginnings.

Or rebeginnings: April is the cruellest month [because it] stirs dull roots with Spring rain.

Roots and branches. Fore and after.

After World War Two, the foremost movement of new poets to emerge in Japan are called the Arechi, or Waste Land Group. . . . (their eponymous magazine is founded by Tamara Ryuichi). . . .

The fallen blossom flies back to its branch: the Bomb falls on Hiroshima: its vaporized bodies rise: the apparition of the crowd is now a cloud that will rain nothing but ends upon us.

No rebirth, no emergence of poetry movements. The cycle does not continue. The nuclear winter gives way to no Spring, no point of departure . . .

Eliot: "The point de repère usually and conveniently taken as the starting-point of modern poetry is . . ."