I am no Greek, hath not th’advantage.
And of course, no Roman:
he can take no risk that matters,
the risk of beauty least of all.
But I have my kin, if for no other reason than
(as he said, next of kin) I commit myself, and,
given my freedom, I’d be a cad
if I didn’t. Which is most true.
It works out this way, despite the disadvantage.
I offer, in explanation, a quote:
si j’ai du goût, ce n’est guères
que pour la terre et les pierres.
Despite the discrepancy (an ocean courage age)
this is also true: if I have any taste
it is only because I have interested myself
in what was slain in the sun
I pose you your question:
shall you uncover honey / where maggots are?
I hunt among stones
And it grows, the vain
even for us with our
bright green sins:
behold the dry guest,
as it stirs up quarrels
among magnolia boughs
and plays its serene
the prows of all the leaves—
and then is gone,
leaving the leaves
the tree still green, but breaking
the heart of the air.
I’ve noticed that among acquaintances of mine, including radicals who claim to have firm understandings of privilege and oppression, stereotyping and making jokes about rural Appalachians is acceptable. While these same friends call people out for enacting other forms of oppression, they don’t consider making derogatory comments about hillbilly culture as part of the same paradigm of racist-classist-patriarchal-capitalist-white supremacy they are fighting against.
It is truly a phantom, for which you may seek for years, and then, when least expected it suddenly stands before you in some dim forest aisle, a vision of soft, white loveliness, that once seen can never be forgotten.