The American poet Mark Strand died last week. It has been said that many of his poems are about so much more than understanding what they mean. Science, also, has a lot of hidden meaning and intent.
Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.
The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.
The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.
Their eyeballs roll,
their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.
She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
I am a new man,
I snarl at her and bark,
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.
In 2011 Strand published an appreciation of the artist Edward Hopper. He showed how the formal elements of painting—geometrical shapes pointing beyond the canvas, light from unseen sources—locate the viewer “in a virtual space where the influence and availability of feeling predominate.”
Does this the same human urge encourage us to enquire of worlds beyond the familiar ones?