Prodigal prow

So Henry meditates there on his royal Couch... ponders the underlying sense of things... how there is more love to go around than he knows how to acknowledge... which is the basis of metaphysical Thanksgiving (old New England holiday).

Prodigal Son, prodigal prow.  This ponderous, well-meaning New Deal statue of Roger Williams has him stepping off the prow of a canoe, to offer blessings & thanks to his Narragansett friends, & set a pattern for future immigrants.  Providence, "a refuge for troubled conscience"...


Trace a line on the imperfect, blurry old pane.
A circle, or a wheel.  And drafty, chaotic life surrenders 
without a struggle – well-meaning, ponderous,
life loves you.  And it's life, not you, that will remain.

Will spring again from nothing, like the dream
of the pottery – row, row, row your boat there, Lucky! 
See how the prodigal prow inches along, rickety, 
through the weedy membranes, truly, off the beam.

Spring again from. . . – toward you, 
again – at the crossroad. . . 
magnetic motherlode – salt-
vault – geared for the unsparing blue.

Once in Paradise

Now Henry moves on to 3rd chapter of magnum opus (or o'puss).  Once in Paradise is the title.

Paradise comprises about one square mile of Middletown bordered by Second Beach, Paradise Avenue, Green End Avenue, and Third Beach Road.    -  James L. Yarnall, John LaFarge in Paradise

Stubborn Grew has its own wave-pattern, to-&-fro.  Begins with sketches in 1st chapter; puffs to full-blown spinnaker in 2nd; then 3rd sluffs back into sketchbook.

Henry is on the rust-red couch again, where the poem began.  Casting out lines, perpendiculars, radials.

But now he's sinking deeper into America.  Melville & Bluejay & Hart Crane are in the picture; the salty squint of Herman the Merman casts an iceberg eye (Moby Dick, Confidence Man) on the American enterprise.  But Henry's still searching...  so it goes & flows... 


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.

Blue arch of sky, a flurry of pussy willows. 
Out of the man of clay the heart goes out 
through the eyes – a circular route, 
elliptical, eccentric. Whatever nobody knows

sounds, unspeakable.  Toward the willows; 
toward the bent branches shading a long river, 
somewhere (ingrained in the interior).
A dream of the clay man, motionless, comatose.

An image in the glass, or ghostly hum 
draws breath from lakes of immobile eyes. 
A statue, stirring Proven├žal sighs
from old books (Francesca's boredom), or

immobile blue-brown blur captured in a porch 
windowpane.  A supine, motionless man of clay. 
And something quivers in his chest – today,
eternity – a key, scrambling in the latch

or Bluejay, whistling, rehearsing in the tree. . . 
icon filling the frame for a troubled moment 
like lost summer wind, crossing cement
with deep soil. . . infant memoir of infinity.

Closed eyes and speechlessness.
A clipper, sailing over seas of grain. 
Bluejay's fiery Chippewater – a milk train 
way.  Eyes closed, and speechless.

Blackstone River