In Memoriam

The One Whose Reproach I Cannot Evade
by George Hitchcock

She sits in her glass garden
and awaits the guests –
The sailor with the blue tangerines
the fish clothed in languages
the dolphin with a revolver in its teeth.

Dusk enters from stage left:
its voice falls like dew on the arbor.
Tiny bells
sway in the catalpa tree.

What is it she hopes to catch in her net
of love? Petals? Conch-shells?
The night-moth? She does not speak.
Tonight, I tell her, no one comes;
you wait in vain.

Yet at eight precisely
the moon opens its theatric doors,
an arm rises from the fountain,
the music box, face down
on her tabouret, swells and bursts
its cover – a tinkling flood of
rice moves over the table.

She smiles at me, false believer,
smiles and goes in, leaving
the garden empty and my thighs
half-eaten by the raging twilight.

from The Wounded Alphabet, Poems Selected and New: 1953:1983

George Hitchcock was the recipient of the Charles Erskine Scott Wood Distinguished Writer Award from Literary Arts in 2003. He died this week at his home in Eugene.

George’s obituary on the Poetry Foundation web site states in part:

George Hitchcock, the influential editor of kayak magazine (1964-1984) has passed away at the age of 96. Hitchcock supported an array of up-and-coming poets, many of whom went on to major success: Simic, Tate, Atwood, Kizer, Carver, Levine, Merwin, and McGrath, to name a few.

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