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Raymond Farr



This poem, "Her Hair In Her Hands," is equally and intentionally, part text and part silence. By this I mean that the pauses between lines and the spaces between phrase-stanzas utter, together, the poem's pathos. The tearing of history's garment of flesh is heard & felt as much in its silences & aftermaths as in its tortures and screams. In "Her Hair In Her Hands," the spaces form a silent backdrop which is like a kind of static or backgorund radiation hurtling through the bleakness of the universe. Life's (and in this poem, WWII's) cruelties have found expression by infiltrating the subject's "speaking voice" with discord and barren space. For words alone could never satisfy suffering's appetite. Neither could they approach the warp speed of the silence that accompanies shame& guilt, a shame & a guilt present in the heart of even the most well-intentioned aggressor or defender. As a poetics, I think much could be said of silence & the pauses which give one time to consider: What are the origins of a "voice" in a poem, what is its meaning , and how is that meaning arrived at.


Her Hair In Her Hands

                                                              Hiroshima, Nagasaki 1945


This was the view.

It was beautiful, O so beautiful (from here).

This is it now. These words are the view:

it was difficult, O so difficult.


Steropticon (useless).

Trompe l'oeil, too, is out of the question (passe).

What I mean is: this view is my world--

so deranged (as it is grammatically)

so empirical,

a vortex in the flux of my tradition (in the hour of my birth)

being contrary to the sight of

the explosion (so erotic) of her hair falling out.

(Her hair fell out of her



O so beautiful was the original.

I defended it (till now) (and will again).

It was terrible, O so terrible!

And I feared it and I nourished it:

the gardens & hedgerows, so quiet/sublime,

trimmed (in memorium).


It is being & wandering across Time, so mystical,

that creeps in us (the syntactical failure so complex).

I can't forget how she cried, her hair in her hands,

her dark eyes, deepened, meeting mine,

as if to blame me or someone I represented.


I walk upright now.

Once I was a babe like any other,

like you perhaps, or like anyone,

and I heard someone crying,

& it was you,

& it was the sound of the miles being crossed.

I walk upright now.

My memory is good sometimes.

Sometimes (more often) it is not so good.

It is lousy, in fact.


You are growing old with me: your hair in your hands.

We face west together & walk upright together.

We head east & forget who we are.


...the moment, the moment is here,
affixed, feral, absurd, self-effaced...


I want to arrive now!

I want to escape soon!

I need a moment in which I exist.

I have expectations like anyone.

I cannot see clearly ahead of me.

I need a moment in which I exist.

Where are you standing in relation to me?

In relation to the moment?

Are you there to the left of me?

Are you there to the right of it?

Are you standing alone with your hair in your hands?


I have uncovered something, a language.

Can you translate it for me?

Can you tell me what the meaning is?

"It says we need a moment in which to exist.

It means I am standing beside you, my hair in my hands."






Raymond Farr lives in Ocala, FL. His work can be veiwed online at Shampoo, Can We Have Our Ball Back?, Aught, Milk, Textbase, Xstream, Poethia, Eratio, GutCult, BlazeVox2k3, and Muse Apprentice Guild.



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