This short essay was written in response to an invitation to speak at a symposium at the Royal College of Art in London in November 2018. The poem presented here, “Starting from low the light ascends in a single slow movement,” was, at the time when this essay was written, one section of a lyric in seven parts, all of it in roughly accentual heptameter tercets. The poem had the title “Moral Support,” or anyhow, I thought so; but the verses ended up taking a different turn, out of that poem and into another, and they now belong elsewhere. The poem “Moral Support” never made it into the world. Some of it was let go, but the bulk of it was redistributed, either intact or in pieces, into the first three poems of my book Scherzos Benjyosos. The eight tercets presented here can be found in scherzo number 3—twice, almost. A number of revisions were made, of a more or less emendatory or even explicitly redemptive character. The poem presented in this essay, the one that was stuck into Stephen G. Rhodes’s room full of the detritus of a violated childhood, ended up being a hoarded text, withheld from circulation—until now. This essay, conceived at the time as a space of reflection and reminiscence in which the poem would momentarily repose, or a space that it would visit before making its way in the world as a completed poetic work, has instead turned out to be the ironic reliquary of a poem that never got out.


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pp. 128-135
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