Thursday, April 28, 2011

"One Almost Might": A. S. J. Tessimond

In the following poem, A. S. J. Tessimond (1902-1962) suggests that we should approach things at a different angle from that proposed by Weldon Kees in "To Build a Quiet City in His Mind."  Rather than constructing something new, perhaps the better course is to slow down and consider things more closely -- unravel a tangled skein.  But Kees and Tessimond may, after all, be seeking the same thing:  peace and quiet. 

                            One Almost Might

Wouldn't you say,
Wouldn't you say: one day,
With a little more time or a little more patience, one might
Disentangle for separate, deliberate, slow delight
One of the moment's hundred strands, unfray
Beginnings from endings, this from that, survey
Say a square inch of the ground one stands on, touch
Part of oneself or a leaf or a sound (not clutch
Or cuff or bruise but touch with finger-tip, ear-
Tip, eyetip, creeping near yet not too near);
Might take up life and lay it on one's palm
And, encircling it in closeness, warmth and calm,
Let it lie still, then stir smooth-softly, and
Tendril by tendril unfold, there on one's hand . . .

One might examine eternity's cross-section
For a second, with slightly more patience, more time for reflection?

A. S. J. Tessimond, The Walls of Glass (1934).  The poem looks relaxed and conversational, but note the rhymed couplets.

                             Robin Tanner, "Wren and Primroses" (1935)


From My Easy Chair said...

Beautiful poem. I didn't actually read it as rhymed couplets until you pointed that out. Don't know why. Thank you again for introducing me to a poet I'd never heard of.

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

A poem that seems more pertinant now than ever
and the wren seems to be doing just that as he surveys the inch of ground he stands on.

Stephen Pentz said...

From My Easy Chair: as always, thanks for stopping by. I didn't pick up on the rhymes right away either -- the conversational style threw me off, I suppose. Tessimond tends to do that sort of thing. I'm pleased that you like the poem. Tessimond's Collected Poems was republished by Bloodaxe Books last year, so maybe you'll be able to track down a copy.

Stephen Pentz said...

Ms. Whitmore: thank you for visiting and commenting again. Yes -- spring in particular seems an apt time of year for what Tessimond is getting at, I think.