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in plain air 139
Years pass and there continues in me a preoccupation with what it is to
be in the physical universe, with its always individual near-at-hand do-
ings and beings, human and otherwise; the whole show shading off into
immensity and vagueness, and (however splendid or frightful or dull or,
ultimately, unimaginably strange) with its bare unrelenting factuality hur-
tling along impassively as it does, in a kind of fi nal dignity. Some sense
of this preceded by a long time the writing of the poems, I suppose, and
has something to do with their unreconstructed realism and particularity.
The poems are nonetheless meditations, and, as I said about some of
them in another place, where descriptive they are descriptive meditations,
and not meditative descriptions.
Something else. Among the new poems are poems I wouldn't let out
by themselves but that -- like an "openwork" line in a stanza -- make their
contribution to the ensemble: what counts for me in any collection is less
the individual poem than the individual life, fi nding its way somehow,
anyhow, directly and otherwise, into the whole work....