National Poetry Month Part iv

The changes between Djuna Barnes’s text of Nightwood and the book actually published are striking and make for an interesting study in political bibliographic outrages.I’ll post a paper on that soon, here or on a new Twentieth- and Twenty-First-century blog some brilliant minds are working on.

Here, from Barnes’s later poetry, a different voice that still echoes the darkness of her amazing novel. The change noted in the text was handwritten on a post-publication copy in Barnes’s files:

To One Who Feels Differently
–Djuna Barnes

To-night I cannot know you and I weep
For sorrow that’s upon you like soft sleep
Of which alone you are the one possessed—
And as one in long stuff of mourning dressed—
Drenched deep in garments that take shape of grief
Fold on heavy fold, as leaf on leaf.
You stand, all tremulous with stifled cries
And with chill tears like glass upon your eyes.
Thin shadows, darker than the darkness boil
With foamy somnolence and monstrous toil
The solemn lisping of untimely things
Approaches; and on high lamenting wings
Cold time screams past us, shedding sparks of pain {fire}
Of which you are the core and the refrain.

3 thoughts on “National Poetry Month Part iv

  1. “The solemn lisping of untimely things/” Have I died and gone to heaven? Knock my socks off Wow. Ashamed to say I don’t know this poet…but NOW I do. Thanks, bigbrain. :) xoxo

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