|Here's "King of Finisterre" by my correspondent Graham Ward, |
who I hoped to meet in Wales and did not, alas.
Find more of him here:
Poetry editor Jonathan Farmer has picked thirteen Red King poems for At Length.
Here's what the conspirators say about the magazine:
At Length is a venue for ambitious, in-depth writing, music, photography, and art that are open to possibilities shorter forms preclude. As a print-friendly online magazine, we create ways for readers, listeners, and viewers to interact with noteworthy long work, and other publications have noticed. Among those who have recommended our writing and interviews are Harpers.org, NPR online, The Awl, VillageVoice.com and Longform.org, which called “The Decisive Ones” one of the year’s 20 best essays. Best American Poetry 2011 will feature our selection of poems from Major Jackson’s Holding Company.
And here are the first three lines of each poem to entice the passer-by to leap to At Length:
DEFINITION OF FOOL
What does it mean to be a fool?
Is it to reel about the world
Like stars made out of icicles,
A STAR IN A BOX
In a green seed
Hidden in a shell
From the first walnut tree,
SELF-PORTRAIT AS DRYAD, NO. 8
Riven, scorched to the root,
I offered my palm, sprout-pale,
And caught one bloody drop.
THE FOREST FOOL
The forest Fool, all geared in green,
A slough of blackened leaves his bed,
His rags as tattered as the leaves.
THE TAROT WITCH
On the Fool’s long walk to the King’s city,
He met a gypsy in a rowan grove
Who told him how he rooted in the woods
THE BLACK FOOL
(Black letters, through and through, were wound:
The names of sins, the years, the crime:
The thorns that pinned the words to flesh.
THE KING IN THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING
The little cottages
And churches huddle close
Around the castle-flanks.
Dashing along the pebble paths,
Sending up sprays of white: the Fool
Is chasing the Red King’s shadow.
SONG OF THE FISHER-FOLK, no. 2
The Fooloon Song
The minnows in the sea
And brittlestars that bite
All laugh with the Fool’s glee:
THE WHITE FOOL
The wind came rustling in the leaves.
The rustles sounded like a fire.
The Fool was burning in the sound.
RED KING AND THE STARS
The Red King goes with magnifying glass
And kneels so long he whitens in the snow:
The winter wind is tossing the big firs
THE CHRISTMAS BONFIRE
Bewitched, the Fool is watching acanthus
And oak–the bristling leaves of Christmas flame–
When the Royal Alchemist empties salts
RIDDLES OF THE KING
Made by the Fool
The Mirror King
Just the same: contrariwise.