Robert Stark



Robert Stark is already known to Poundians as the author of Ezra Pound’s Early Verse and Lyric Tradition. A Jargoner Apprenticeship (2012), which we will review in these pages shortly.  In this issue of the little mag we would like to signal the publication of his volume of verse, A Middle North, April 2014.

 We reproduce these poems by permission.



Imagine! In the sea

confiding ‘til
arms elbows sculpted
palm unlearn
the ease of air

Deeper. Another
thrown moon
another vaulted
intractable sky
& light of verdigris

Thus I, Persephone
thus do I rapt descend
or rise unto your realm,
thus Love rises or descends
& dare it gasp?

 FOR J. C.

I have your satchel on
the kitchen table
& I have ransacked your home
for medication

to no avail: what use
the alcoholic’s bag
his stash of sleeping pills and supplements?

Not quite dead you sit alone
not noticing the strangers
around you
you are in their home now

& it is their game: you play
the fabled bird                         ashen, waiting
waiting for the moment
for the right moment to take off


The water turned late August & the pulse
of sun on Tulaby is met with deliquescent green.
September disappoints – that is the rule
this far north - & the exorbitant patience
of the all-year fishermen
tends to the shore.

Early dusk, not much noticed now,
will settle with disinclination on the lake
within the hour. A protracted summer
seemed it would be consummated here
at this time in this spot; how
quaintly marginal

& circumspect we were. Eutrophic heart
surface shivering & shagged in dulse;
our summer bearing has deserted us,
our love is lakish now. You idle in your work
& I separately revert
to an accustomed yearning:

 Articulate and ravenous, we have been cruel
as much as blind; this leewarding
together here on Tulaby is not a kindlier
compulsion though it may be we cannot subdue
the stars or bare in compass with the poles
of the magnetic & the true.

 The night we sped towards the casino
in our week-old rental car two lanes
were scarcely wide enough; a mad diversion,
agonic & apart, to peer into
the void of the road, the void of the slot machine
the heart.