Prefix: Finding the Measure – Robert Kelly

Detail of Astronomical Halo, from Le Livre des Sept Ages du Monde, by Simon Marmion [c.1460]

Prefix: Finding the measure

Finding the measure is finding the mantram,

is finding the moon, as index of measure,

is finding the moon’s source;

if that source

is Sun, finding the measure is finding

the natural articulation of ideas.

The organism

of the macrocosm, the organism of language,

the organism of I combine in ceaseless naturing

to propagate a fourth,
the poem,

from their trinity.

Style is death. Finding the measure is finding

a freedom from that death, a way out, a movement

forward.

Finding the measure is finding the

specific music of the hour,

the synchronous

consequence of the motion of the whole world.

~Robert Kelly

Sam Hammill first showed me this poem at Kenneth Rexroth’s house in Montecito. It is still my favorite.

Art: Detail of Astronomical Halo, from Le Livre des Sept Ages du Monde, by Simon Marmion [c.1460]

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