Some Poems
by Robert G. Cohn

ELEGY (from Some Poems)
Some Poems Cover.jpg
The year is coming to an end.
Outside, the tree-lined street is darkening with shadows.
Mysterious purposes rush to fill the air.
The wayside lamps give off a softer glow;
Their melted yellow lantern gleams
Beglamor the blackening reaches of the street.

Now rains will surely come.
People are hurrying home.
The urban heart is searching for its source.

Autumn, the remembered time

Accompanying its grievous loss with music
The dying leaves transmuted to a strain.

How strange the places we have been
The roads we drove beyond the hills through autumn towns
Along the bank of the hidden river
The maples rippling beside the mill
Letting their pumpkin leaves drift down to unseen water
While on a quieter stretch below
With a sudden turning of the way we glimpsed
The agonizing never-forgotten swan.

Season I cannot leave you yet.
Of all the vanishing days of earth
Some autumn days are hardest to forget.

(from Some Poems)

Fragments of day litter the street
And southward drift, as branches lace
Fresh, favored children, buttoned-neat,
Beneath the trees for briefest space.
Dull tinklings scent a troubled dark.
Suburban busses sigh, and pass
Beyond the lindens in the park,
Veiled sprinklers turning in the grass.
A fresh gust—sparse drops sting the earth—
Hushed wayside lamps come on; a form
Retreats through awning-dust and surf
Past doors slammed shut against the storm.

MAYMONT (from Some Poems)

From somewhere—the soil under the city streets that led to the park? Secrets of the chestnut roots? or the endless air that surrounded each tree and pebble, house and lamp-post, back fence, alley, and garden, each with its bushes and single flowers, and the petals of these—rose up a delirium of whisperings to mingle with the leaves clustering just up there where our heart's desire and the light of May are part of the tree, part of the rustling of nestlings, the arabesques of wind that wind like invisible scarves around the limbs and curl off insouciant to anywhere. And I went down in a daze of spring through the meadow with stiff wild grasses and clumps of discreet violets, pale field-daisies, buttercups, down to a path that led to a little stone bridge arched over a brook; on the other side I left the path and climbed the hill that gently lifted and held up the space above like a promise to a child. Just over the crest, half-hid in a grove of trees, were the turrets of the chateau. As you approached and breathed with closed eyes the jasmine scent came insidiously, perfectly to fill you with a desperate longing. But you couldn't stay. Hedges and flower-beds dipped in and about and lazily led on over and down toward a trellised formal walkway, then a series of stone stairs and terraces, rococo caves, Louis XV statuary; at last a path along the top of a steep slope ended in a pergola looking out over far woods, the valley of the James, and warm sweet lilac-grey Virginia sky.

About the Author

Robert%20Cohn-low.jpgRobert Greer Cohn is best known for his lifetime work on Mallarmé. Michael Deguy referred to him as the "posthumous Mallarmé." Julia Kristeva, in an article subtitled "Hommage à R. G. Cohn" called him "Mallarmé's accomplice." Many major writers echoed these sentiments: Herman Broch, Giuseppe Ungaretti, Richard Wilbur, Philippe Sollers... His The Poetry of Rimbaud was deemed by Henri Peyre to be "perhaps the best study [of the poet] in any language." He was the founding editor of Yale French Studies and the author of sixteen books, a two-time Guggenheim fellow; he is professor emeritus of French at Stanford University.


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