Theme and Invariants

So you see I’ve begun looking after you

looking for you

looking for you, who would not see
as relentlessly as I did
what we both meant
to end

So that you see just as long as you’re made
to listen
to this lyre’s
sedulous strain

Whose head severed in the river-current,
unlooked-at & still singing
all its way downstream to Lesbos

Not stopped looking after
you’d already begun to look twice
in every direction but ours

So I turned back too, back to
what we’d both been looking
away from, looking

looking after, in this
aftermath of whatever
we end up calling
what we ended

So you see
I’ve begun
so that you see

(pluck and pluck of the lyre)

So you see I’ve begun
under the eyelids,
silt on the singing tongue)

looking after you

by Bruce Beasley

The Poetry Centre hosted a special performance poetry event last year, and the video of the show is now available on YouTube! Watch it here, and enjoy sampling the talents of some of the finest Oxford poets.

‘Theme and Invariants’ is copyright © Bruce Beasley and BOA Editions, 2012, and reprinted from Theophobia (BOA, 2012).

Notes from BOA Editions:

Bruce Beasley’s Theophobia is the latest volume in his ongoing spiritual meditation, which forms a kind of postmodern devotional poetry in a reinvention of the tradition of John Donne, George Herbert, Emily Dickinson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and T.S. Eliot. The book is structured around a series of poems called ‘Pilgrim’s Deviations’ and it forms a deviating pilgrimage through science, history, politics, and popular culture. Beasley interrogates the theological, metaphysical, scientific, and political worlds of our time in a continually disrupted catechism, a ‘catechismus interruptus.’

Bruce Beasley grew up in Macon, Georgia, and studied at Oberlin College (B.A., 1980), Columbia University (M.F.A., 1982), and the University of Virginia (Ph.D., 1993). He is the author of six previous collections of poems, including The Corpse Flower: New and Selected Poems (University of Washington Press, 2007), Lord Brain (winner of the University of Georgia Press Contemporary Poetry Series Award, 2005), and Summer Mystagogia, selected by Charles Wright for the 1996 Colorado Prize for Poetry. He has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Artist Trust and three Pushcart prizes, and his work appears in The Pushcart Book of Poetry: The Best Poems from the First Thirty Years of the Pushcart Prize. He lives in Bellingham, Washington, with his wife the poet and nonfiction writer Suzanne Paola and their son Jin, and is a professor of English at Western Washington University. His latest collection Theophobia (BOA, 2012) is now available at BOA’s site here, where you can also read another poem from the collection, ‘From “Having Read the Holy Spirit’s Wikipedia”‘. You can also find out more about Bruce Beasley’s work from his website.

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