Creeley’s Ghost by John Timothy Robinson

Creeley’s Ghost

He said, ‘every poem demands that I treat it differently.’
I can’t find the quote, yet memory lingers
as my mind sifts titles to find the words
where those other words existed with feeling.
His soul was preoccupied with another kind of music,
though to justify his own beliefs required thought.

He was one of those from whom I learned to feel.
‘The local is a place one has been compelled to give witness to in words.’
Other poets had this sense of intrinsic music,
though for me his critical sense is the light that lingers.
True, in writing, I am unlike those who shared his thought,
eternally free, untamed, whose minds were different.

Still, his ideas resonate with logic, linger
in the mind like a kind of music.
‘Complex structure of sound and rhythm, cohered with recognition of their order in thought.’
In his own way, he reminded me that words
create new order, form among themselves, different
from prior concepts, though not bereft of feeling.

There is a sense of things as they simply are, words,
bare, raw, ungarnished with higher thought,
precepts constantly at war because they were different.
He believed in ‘a poetry determined by the language of which it is made, even music’.
The objective culls all such feelings
gripping edges of reason so firm a message lingers.

Somehow, among all that was stripped away, he heard music
where the reader saw plain language free of verse, different
in many ways than elegies, sonnets or odes which calculate their feeling.
He and others like him were always suspicious of thought.
‘Only craft determines the morality of a poem,’ lingers
like so many thoughts I hold agreement with in words.

I always admired and learned from his thought.
Often there were difficulties which obstructed feeling,
though rational means return a counter as they linger
in their wisdom, standing yet so pillarlike, indifferent
to all flesh or flashy words,
‘a complex of sounds and rhythms, which move in a parallel to music.’

Creeley’s ghost of feeling resides in words
as they exist in thought almost sheared of music,
his musing, patient, lingering poetics of difference.

© 2018 John Timothy Robinson


Follow John

John Timothy Robinson is a traditional, mainstream citizen and ten-year educator for Mason County Schools in Mason County, WV who holds a Regent’s Degree. He has an interest in Critical Theory of poetry and American Formalism. John’s poetry has appeared in fifty-two journals since August 2016, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, electronic and print. He has also published several literary critical essays. As a printmaker, John has published thirty-four art images which have appeared in ten journals and websites in the United States and Italy.

Recent and forthcoming work;

The Road Not Taken, River Poets Journal and Old Red Kimono.

Critical/Craft Essays;

“The Origin of “Wind on the Water.” Fine Lines Creative Writing Journal 2017.

“The Poet and Society” Ginsoko Literary Journal, Issue 19, Summer 2017.

“Interview with Suzanna Anderson on Writers and Creativity.” The Magnolia Review 2017.

“Structuralist Stereographic Aspects of Donald Hall’s “The Town of Hill” was accepted for presentation only at the 49th Annual Conference of Northeast Modern Language Association with editorial selections facilitated through Critical Mass: New Doors in Critical Theory.

“An Aesthetic for Printmaking” first appeared in Empty Mirror 2018.
“The Shallows Interview Questions on the accompanying poem, “A Crumpled Piece of Notebook Paper” for Issue 2, 2018.


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