Wednesday, March 5, 2008
My favorite pen and "Writing" by Nemerov.
[Above: Pen and piece of an old pot ] I got this Cross fountain pen the summer I lived in Weaverville, as a belated graduation present for myself. At the time, I lived under George Perry--a tall, animated, newly divorced, Mars Hill College history professor. That season George had lots of loud, rowdy sex in his bed above my head. I sent away for the X-Fine nib.
I'm pasting Nemerov here so I won't lose him. This gesture is roughly the same as my impulses regarding the fountain pen and the old pottery shard: a few inspiring, meaningful artifacts tucked away safely. At least for now.
by Howard Nemerov
The cursive crawl, the squared-off characters
these by themselves delight, even without
a meaning, in a foreign language, in
Chinese, for instance, or when skaters curve
all day across the lake, scoring their white
records on ice. Being intelligible,
these winding ways with their audacities
and delicate hesitations, they become
miraculous, so intimately, out there
at the pen's point or brush's tip, do world
and spirit wed. The small bones of the wrist
balance against great skeletons of stars
exactly; the blind bat surveys his way
by echo alone. Still, the point of style
is character. The universe induces
a different tremor in every hand, from the
check-forger's to that of the Emperor
Hui Tsung, who called his own calligraphy
the 'Slender Gold.' A nervous man
Writes nervously of a nervous world, and so on.
Miraculous. It is as though the world
were a great writing. Having said so much,
let us allow there is more to the world
than writing: continental faults are not
bare convoluted fissures in the brain.
Not only must the skaters soon go home;
also the hard inscription of their skates
is scored across the open water, which long
remembers nothing, neither wind nor wake.
From The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov.
© University of Chicago Press, 1981.