Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Scrutable Poetry Corner: "Ceres"

Here's "Ceres" by Harrison Dowd, from the April 20, 1929 issue of The New Yorker.

I have honestly never seen these "pigeon people," but they appear so often in fiction of all eras that I can only assume they're out there...probably in larger cities.
Little gray woman
Mad as a loon,
Feeding all morning,
All afternoon,

Grain to your pigeons
In your old blue cloak,
How long is it
Since your whole brain broke?

How long ago
Did you first go mad?
Was it drink, or a lover
That you never had?

What day did your mind
In a whir of soft words
Split and scatter
Like scared gray birds?
Harrison Dowd himself -- like many poets from The New Yorker -- has been largely forgotten, but he did write a book that's still remembered: "The Night Air," a "homosexual novel" from the 1950s that sounds pretty interesting. He was apparently a Broadway character actor from the late '20s to the mid '60s.

I guess poetry wasn't his thing.

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