Word For/Word [ Issue 17: Summer, 2010 ] [ Previous ] [ Next ] [ Notes ]

Becca Jensen

We Must Look into the Matter: Reading Mrs. G Through the English Canon

Her finely tipped points.  The way her heart cut up the sky—in fixed bloom.  Lay her


in lilies and in violets and in praise—the trees so straight and tall, her modest eyes. 


Yes on either side the river lie: 1.  So, over that art which you say adds to nature, is an


art that nature makes.  2.  Which be the flowers, as it were, and colors that a poet


setteth upon his language by art.  It is difficult, but above all, one must remember that


behind those lawyerly arguments, those thrashing sides, sits bold in her own daylight:


a woman.  She adjusts her skirts.  Like a god the beauty of the world—out of the earth


a fabric huge.  Lace upon lace.  Suppose in silks or tissues and costly embroideries. 


Arid, rocky.  A slight pink at times and on a sudden red.  Or green thick in tangles


green.  Her head a kind of stern wilderness.  One is constrained to praise.  Like a god,


beauty.  Some tone on a hill. Canyons.  Bleak-grown pines.  The sea salt blue.  All that


wide and golden scales.  All that resolving down into herself.  Location being the


problem.   On either side the river lie:  3.  The endless tyranny of a landscape. 4.  Long


fields of barley and of rye that clothe the wold and meet the sky and through the field


the road runs by




The Chorus: Homer and a Field of Poppies Twisting, Nude

(It Was an Arch Bridge—Very Sophisticated)

Memory is a fat ball . of golden


flesh . that runs up and down . our bodies . Watch


as she bends her steps . against the sky . She is lonely and . en route and


like most things . misnamed . Once she spent . 18 days building


a bridge . He tried to warn her (Proust):


“It was victory before it was a bridge, princess,”


but by then she had bought . all that steel . Watch . her leave and wave


goodbye for it is only . polite for memory . is not memory . but .


To be accurate . about such things she would be called . distance .


crisp sky .  in the sunlight


watch . but then . so would most .




A Forest Hung Upon His Head