Poem Day 26: erasure

“Over a  “

 Mysterious eyes
  looking through a mist
 tender, dreamy, grim
to match the shiftless   sky.

these warm white afternoons
  dissolve in tears,
nerves wrought,
outrage 

 always, though-sometimes
you’re the horizon 
 o r cloudy autumn- glow!
   odd    outside in s   n out,
turned in a descent by a aging wind.

Dangerous  days!
I adore you as much,
and  when i come
 pleasures sharper than iron and ice?

napo2013button1This 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?

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