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Poem

Ravi Shankar

BLOTCHED IN TRANSMISSION

BLOTCHED IN TRANSMISSION

BLOTCHED IN TRANSMISSION

Bark of the birch, aria of the oriole, grit of the sand-grain,
In the first stanza I shall attempt to confiscate your essence
And each time, you will slip through the noose of language,
Having no owner. Your brief appearance, though, is enough  
For the covetous page, conferring the illusion of presence.
 
Even the breaths heaving in my chest do not belong to me,
These wires of muscles tapping the hand’s opposable thumb
Upon the spacebar, and the precise machinery of two pupils
Taking it in are not mine, though convenient to think so.
In the second stanza, I shall feel like an outsider in my body.
 
Emptied of the need to own, I become the pit of a plum. 
We color our language, Wallace Stevens wrote to Elsie Moll,
And Truth, being white, becomes blotched in transmission.
In the third, final stanza, I will understand what he meant
For a moment, before the old words come flooding back.
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BLOTCHED IN TRANSMISSION

Bark of the birch, aria of the oriole, grit of the sand-grain,
In the first stanza I shall attempt to confiscate your essence
And each time, you will slip through the noose of language,
Having no owner. Your brief appearance, though, is enough  
For the covetous page, conferring the illusion of presence.
 
Even the breaths heaving in my chest do not belong to me,
These wires of muscles tapping the hand’s opposable thumb
Upon the spacebar, and the precise machinery of two pupils
Taking it in are not mine, though convenient to think so.
In the second stanza, I shall feel like an outsider in my body.
 
Emptied of the need to own, I become the pit of a plum. 
We color our language, Wallace Stevens wrote to Elsie Moll,
And Truth, being white, becomes blotched in transmission.
In the third, final stanza, I will understand what he meant
For a moment, before the old words come flooding back.

BLOTCHED IN TRANSMISSION

Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère