Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wednesday with Words - A poem by William Everson


But at length we learn,
Finding the chastening pattern to school desire:
Not tamper with time.
Neither rowel the future nor finger the past.
The world wars on.
Our subsequent fate involved in its toil,
But the abstract voice that spills from the box
Cannot bring it clear.
Even the purpose by which we have come
Loses distinction,
With the lover's face and the wife's affection,
Here in the wilderness,
The waste of the world,
Bounded betwen the continent's back
And the absolute West.
We rise in the dawns,
Enter the day;
We eye the weather and watch the sea,
In its manifest purpose,
Marshall itself for another assault.
Whether or not we re heroes or fools
Is hardly the point,
Who have learned in this
That all achievement is only attained
By the thick sequence of forced geginnings
Composing an act,
As the soldier,
Crouch and kiling,
Must also know,
Bent by his gun.
Having fastened on this we can only endure,
Immersed in the chorework of the will,
And wade up time,
Where the glacial future,
Frozen and formed in the stone ranges beyond our sight,
Yield only the iridescent trickle
The bleeds from its throat.

William Everson
from The Waldport Poems, 1944

Our new friend, Vlad, a friend of Bills, gave me a lovely hand printed page of this poem.  It was printed in 2005 on the occasion of the exhibition, Printing at Waldport; William Everson, Adrian Wilson and the Legcy of the Untide Press.

Everson was a teacher of mine at UC Santa Cruz.

Thank you, Vlad.


  1. How fortunate to have had William Everson as a teacher and to have received this gift all these years later.


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