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The Indefinite Article.

Friday, May 28, 2004


This is a poem that I found in the April 2004 edition of the New Yorker. I think it is really lovely. I am overjoyed to have found it; It is precisely the kind of poem that I love to read, and long to write. Enjoy.


His signs flick off.
His names of birds
and his beautiful words-
eleemosynary, fir, cinerarium, reckless-
skip like pearls from a snapped necklace
scattering over linoleum.

His thinking won't
venture out of his mouth.
His grammar heads south.
Pathetic his subjunctives; just as pathetic
his mangling the emphatic enclitic
he once was the master of.

Still, all in all, he has
his inner weather of pure meaning,
though the wind is keening
through his Alps and his clouds hang low
and the forecast is "Rain mixed with snow,
heavy at times."

- Vijay Seshadri

Aphasia - total or partial loss of the ability to use or understand language; usually caused by stroke, brain disease, or injury.

Enclitic - An enclitic is a clitic that is phonologically joined at the end of a preceding word to form a single unit.


  • Paul,

    the rhyming couplets (2 in each stanza) debase this poem for me. It would have been much nicer (more powerful & less trite) had he kept up the visualizations he started with the pearl necklace and linoleum.

    It is exactly those types of visulizations that touch me most as when you wrote during your time with yvette....

    (loose quote)

    "...with my socks curled next to the bed like kittens..."

    even though i think metaphors are generally much more readable and palpable than similies, this image has stuck with me for a long time.


    By Blogger Killy, at 1:09 AM  

  • pablo
    porque me haces llorar

    By Blogger CarolinaDivina, at 10:27 AM  

  • i think the second part of the poem works well with the meaning of the whole - it illustrates the loss
    killy says this is bad
    i think it's good - here

    By Blogger CarolinaDivina, at 10:30 AM  

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