“Over a “
looking through a mist
tender, dreamy, grim
to match the shiftless sky.
these warm white afternoons
dissolve in tears,
you’re the horizon
o r cloudy autumn- glow!
odd outside in s n out,
turned in a descent by a aging wind.
I adore you as much,
and when i come
pleasures sharper than iron and ice?
This one’s a bit tricky, but I’ve used it to good effect in the past — and it’s the sort of thing you can do over and over again. Back in 1977, the poet Ronald Johnson first published RADI OS, an “erasure” of Milton’s Paradise Lost. Basically, Johnson took a copy of Milton’s long poem, and systematically erased whole words and even lines, while maintaining the relative position of the remaining words. You can see a brief excerpt here.
Today, I challenge you to perform an erasure of your own.
“Overcast” by Baudelaire
Are they blue, gray or green? Mysterious eyes
(as if in fact you were looking through a mist)
in alternation tender, dreamy, grim
to match the shiftless pallor of the sky.
That’s what you’re like- these warm white afternoons
which make the ravished heart dissolve in tears,
the nerves, inexplicably overwrought,
outrage the dozen mind.
Not always, though-sometimes
you’re like the horizon when the sun
ignites our cloudy autumn-how you glow!
A sodden countryside in sudden rout,
turned incandescent by a changing wind.
Dangerous woman-demoralizing days!
Will I adore your killing frost as much,
and in that implacable winter, when it comes,
discover pleasures sharper than iron and ice?