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David W. Parsley

Photograph of the NSF Team

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David W. Parsley

PHOTOGRAPH OF THE NSF TEAM

Even as she places it the mind

struggles to recall

which illustrious group is pictured here

set to begin the ubiquitous piquant

fade demanded each piece

in a coming retrospective.

Spiked heels punctuate

the rustle of her passing

down echoed marble where honors pose

for discovered genomes, dark matter,

eruptions on astral shores.

Never is it said she wonders

while checking door bar and latch

if memory poises

to label this long and latest of waves

cresting its trophies of human flower

going out with the restive suicides

or haunting her steps in what wing

flickers anew

the caustic Alexandrian flame.

 

 

 

 

Note: NSF stands for National Science Foundation

 

previously unpublished
© 2013 David W. Parsley
Parsley Poetry Collection

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dr_con

Beautifully crafted, particularly like the 'Caustic Alexandrian Flame.' I can smell the dust and chemicals in the halls. That immediate. Fascinating perspective. Another brilliant work!

 

Juris


Join the Voodoo rEvolution. Classes forming now: http://www.integralvoodoo.org/

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David W. Parsley

I wrote this piece a few years back (around 2004), made a few revisions. With the defacing of gigantic figures of Buddha, the recent vandalism of the International Museum of Islamic Cultures in Timbuktu (including the burning of irreplaceable scrolls), etc., I am concerned that a new wave of anarchy could be rising to threaten the preservation of heroic labors in the humanities and sciences, repeating crimes of the past, like the burning of the great library of Alexandria in the 9th century CE. Thank you, Juris, for your resonance with this insight and with the poem's experience.

 

- Dave

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Benjamin

An excellent, well presented and thought inspiring piece. Leaves me in mind of the way progress is layered; and that each generation is faced with the formidable task of assimilating the total sum of past human knowledge, before making its own contribution. At the risk of digression: Your comments lead me to the ancient (censor) practise of removing statues and all traces of the disfavoured. For technology is moving forward so rapidly that many established fields of thought may become outmoded in the space of one brief lifetime. Whew! B.

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David W. Parsley

As usual, Geoff, your insights and extensions therefrom are well considered, providing worthwhile discursion. The practice of cultural erasure is a kind of genocide in its way, participating in the poem's symbolic 'dark matter' invisibly exerting its elusive social gravitis through the centuries, as well as the violent 'eruptions' that erased the physical remnants of the culture's legacy.

 

Thanks,

- Dave

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Gatekeeper

Missed it - a bit too cryptic for me,perhaps.


from the black desert

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moonqueen

I encounter complexities in your work that cause me to read them, many times over, but I will say you do 'paint' a picture for me. I can almost smell her perfume as she staccatos by, all business. I also worry about the treasures of our world, even those that may represent pain for many, so many already destroyed or stolen. It's one of those things I just don't comprehend.

 

Fortunately, they have been able to put the Lincoln Memorial to rights. Why do they do it?

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David W. Parsley

Missed it - a bit too cryptic for me,perhaps.

GK, I much appreciate this kind of feedback. My current composition style is motivated by the twin need of intellectuals and academics for depth, complexity, and ever richer originality, vice that of the more general lover of poetry - a disappearing breed alienated by decades of experimentation leading to obfuscation, profanity, and obscenity of subject and language. I myself tend to wonder if I don't fall into both camps at the same time. It is darned inconvenient. So I write poetry that potentially appeals to multiple levels of sophistication while attempting to rescue what should be an inherent accessibility and sense of beauty in the Art I love so much. (And I do not deny that even a sophisticated reader will not necessarily be familiar with concepts or works over which I happen to be chin stroking! But it does provide an extra reward for any who are.)

 

Your comment tells me I may have strayed too far from accessibility. But the brevity of the response leaves me wondering where the thread gets lost: the narrative level of the museum work (BTW: NSF stands for National Science Foundation - not sure I should expect folks to know or be able to easily discover that...)? Or is it the closing stanza? If the latter, the first part refers to Tennyson's "Guinevere", extending an (ending?) Arthurian celebration

 

...In that fair Order of my Table Round,

A glorious company, the flower of men,

To serve as model for the mighty world,

And be the fair beginning of a time.

 

And the second reference is to the 9th century burning of the great Library of Alexandria. But I had hoped recognition of these allusions would not be essential to an enjoyment of the poem.

 

In any case, I appreciate the feedback: cryptic is not my aim. Please keep telling me when I have wandered there.

 

Grateful!

- Dave

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dedalus

The second stanza is really good:

Spiked heels punctuate

the rustle of her passing

down echoed marble where honors pose

for discovered genomes, dark matter,

eruptions on astral shores.

and the rest is Richard Wilbur-like crunching of words too quickly into images that do not coalesce. This kind of poetry is word-bound and intelligent BUT it is very difficult to read and appreciate. I don't mean to be harsh, but words and the weighing of their meaning is more the function of philosophers, not poets. But, of course, there are many, many different ways and styles of writing poetry!


Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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dcmarti1

eruptions on astral shores

 

Very evocative piece, but cryptic for me as well. So mysterious that it IS compelling to read, but my mental images are sketchy.

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David W. Parsley

I encounter complexities in your work that cause me to read them, many times over, but I will say you do 'paint' a picture for me. I can almost smell her perfume as she staccatos by, all business. I also worry about the treasures of our world, even those that may represent pain for many, so many already destroyed or stolen. It's one of those things I just don't comprehend.

 

Fortunately, they have been able to put the Lincoln Memorial to rights. Why do they do it?

 

MQ, like DrCon, you confirm the poem's appeal to multiple senses (I have always envied Keats in particular for his ability to accomplish such evocation). You touch on the image I wished to be most vivid: that of a professional modern woman empowered to be among the guardians of our pains-takingly, heroically constructed culture. In fact, the Liberated Woman herself is one of the most precious products of this development. If our present culture is truly cresting, truly caught in the under-tow of emerging anarchic forces of suicidally committed extremists, this very liberty is one of the flowers (not yet fully blossomed) that will surely first fall victim to it.

 

Thanks,

- Dave

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David W. Parsley

... the rest is Richard Wilbur-like crunching of words too quickly into images that do not coalesce. This kind of poetry is word-bound and intelligent BUT it is very difficult to read and appreciate. I don't mean to be harsh, but words and the weighing of their meaning is more the function of philosophers, not poets. But, of course, there are many, many different ways and styles of writing poetry!

Brendan (and others), thanks for this perspective from a respected colleague, couched with a pleasing acknowledgment of room for alternate aesthetic. I confess to a no-more-than-tepid appreciation of Richard Wilbur's work, so the arrow struck mark. Still stroking my chin over the comparison, but taken to heart. I realize that a more Kiplingesque ruminating narrative could explicate things over a doubled length of the poem, but I feared loss of the intensity and excitement that facilitate a sense of personal revelation. There is also the desire to not excessively taint or offend the reader's own judgment with too much telling (rather than showing). The risk of such concentration is losing your reader, which I apparently have managed to do. With the ever-shrinking access to this site, the members of PMO are becoming my sole audience. So your feedback is painfully important to me.

 

Thank You,

- Dave

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