Figures of Thought

POETRY FORMAT, 10 Feb 2020

Howard Nemerov – TRANSCEND Media Service

To lay the logarithmic spiral on
Sea-shell and leaf alike, and see it fit,
To watch the same idea work itself out
In the fighter pilot’s steepening, tightening turn
Onto his target, setting up the kill,
And in the flight of certain wall-eyed bugs
Who cannot see to fly straight into death
But have to cast their sidelong glance at it
And come but cranking to the candle’s flame —

How secret that is, and how privileged
One feels to find the same necessity
Ciphered in forms diverse and otherwise
Without kinship — that is the beautiful
In Nature as in art, not obvious,
Not inaccessible, but just between.

It may diminish some our dry delight
To wonder if everything we are and do
Lies subject to some little law like that;
Hidden in nature, but not deeply so.

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Howard Nemerov was an American poet. He was twice poet laureate and consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress—1963-1964 and 1988-1990. For The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov, he won the National Book Award for Poetry, Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and Bollingen Prize. Wikipedia


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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 10 Feb 2020.

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