"The desert bears only a scathing sun, and nothing more."
"What about mirages?"

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Missing Fact, A Poem By Steven Heighton.

Sometimes time turns perfect rhyme to slant,
as in Wyatt’s famous sonnet - how the couplet
no longer chimes, his “ame” turned “am,” now coupled
more by pattern, form. So everything gets bent
and tuned by time’s tectonic slippage. You and
I, for instance, no longer click or chord
the sharp way we did, when secretly wired
two decades back (not fifty - but then human
prosody shifts faster); and surely that’s best -
half-rhyme better suits the human, and consonance,
not a flawless fit, is mostly what counts
over years. But, still, this urge (from the past?
our genes?) to shirk all, for one more perfect-
coupling rhyme: for two again as one pure fact.

-Steven Heighton, “Missing Fact,” The Address Book
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This is one of my all time favorite poems, by one of my all time favorite poets. There's just something about this piece that makes me keep coming back to it. When I was first introduced to it (early last year), I felt it had a lot to do with relationships, and the way time tends to make us lose our focus. Things change, basically.

Recently I wrote a 1500 word paper on sexist and racist language for my Grammar/Composition class, and I stumbled across this little verse again. After having my brain all twisted up with sexism/racism, the poem had a slightly different edge: Not only does it speak about relationships, but also about things that are said, and how the meaning becomes dull and dusty as time goes on.

Anyways, just thought I'd share. Really, I think this poem is just a masterpiece, a whetstone for us all to sharpen our wit with.