Prefix: Finding the measure

- 1935-
Finding the measure is finding the mantram,
is finding the moon, as index of measure,
is finding the moon's source;

                                         if that source
is Sun, finding the measure is finding
the natural articulation of ideas.

                                              The organism
of the macrocosm, the organism of language,
the organism of I combine in ceaseless naturing
to propagate a fourth,
                               the poem,
                                               from their trinity.

Style is death. Finding the measure is finding
a freedom from that death, a way out, a movement
forward.

             Finding the measure is finding the
specific music of the hour,
                                     the synchronous
consequence of the motion of the whole world.

More by Robert Kelly

Looking

Once when I read the funnies
I took my little magnifying glass
and looked too close.

Forms became colors and colors
were just arrays of dots
and between the dots I saw the rough bleak
storyless legend of the pulp paper
empty as the winter moon

and I dreaded it.
I had looked right through,
when I wanted a universe
that sustains
looker and looking and the seen
forever, detail after detail
never ending. And all I had found
was between. But between
had its own song:
Find it in the space between—

it is just as empty as it seems
but this blankness is your mother.

To Her Body, Against Time

Long over, what's on the tree
shivers. Sky hides behind
white-faced, giving flesh to branch,
a red leaf

or yellow far enough away,
what Broch called ''the style
of old age," simplified
of images,

lean in the perfection of the bough,
naked & half-undone. Clouds break,
rain against a hidden sun,
the form plain

Orpheus

Orpheus can never look back at the real woman trailing behind him out of hell, the woman that anybody could see with ordinary eyes. Orpheus must keep his eyes firmly fixed on the imaginal Eurydice before him, towards whom he has struggled all his life. She is not imaginary, not at all, but realer than any mere apparency, than any momentary act of seeing. He must move always towards that perfect image of his wife, and so sustain himself and his song. If ever he turns back, that is, regresses into seeing his wife as an ordinary woman, she is lost. And he is lost.