Saturday, December 29, 2007

Norse on Mariah

Working my way through Harold Norse’s collected poems (In the Hub of the Fiery Force) and on page 269 I find a poem dedicated to my old poet teacher, Paul Mariah.

Blood of a Poet

they sent him up for 5 years
set bail at 100 grand
& he did time in the hole
for making love
to a boy of 18
who wanted it
both lonely in Illinois
& he came out with an education
in pain
& breaks down when he tells it
& you feel ashamed
& dumb.

-- San Francisco, July 1972

I don’t know if the poem is completely factual but it tracks Paul’s life. Paul never laid out for me the whole story. I learned more from what appeared in his books than I did from him.


Jim Murdoch said...

To some extent I would think the whole purpose behind every poem is to leave you dumbstruck. If a poet has done his job properly there should be nothing more to say. And I guess that could be equally true of the life of a poet.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

If the teacher has done his job properly will the student be left with anything to say?

Jim Murdoch said...

Yes, which is why the student, once he has learned all he can from his master (or all he is willing to learn), will off and find something else to say - and in his own way - which is as it should be.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

Things which are as they should be!