There's a lot of Providence in Stubborn Grew. It's a kind of mock-epic (the first volume of a trilogy, actually, called Forth of July). & since I'll soon be pulling up stakes & heading back to the midwest, and since I now own one one of these fancy telephone things that takes pictures, I thought I might try a little experiment : illustrate this local poem with a few excerpts and we-were-there photos.
We'll see how this goes. I won't start from the beginning, exactly, but from my living room : this is a passage from a chapter called "Once in Paradise", which follows a previous chapter, "Ancient Light", which is set in London. With "Once in P." I have returned to Providence from a trip to England. ("Shakespeare's Head", by the way, is a building in Providence. I will try to illustrate this soon.) So here are the initial stanzas of the opening passage, with a photo of "Lucky", my mother's little boat, still there (for a short time) by the couch :
from Once in Paradise
There was a garden behind Shakespeare's Head.
A long time ago, before you were born.
Before you were born, before you were born,
a garden there was, behind Shakespeare's Head.
Home again from London, I lay near Lucky;
a man on the sofa, nearly lucky, I lay.
A man of clay, eyes open, looking out at the sky.
As though the blurred porch window held the key.