George Oppen, To C. T. (Poem)

One imagines himself
addressing his peers
I suppose.  Surely
that might be the definition
of ‘seriousness’?  I would like,
as you see,
to convince
myself
that my pleasure in your response
is not
plain vanity
but the pleasure of being heard,
the pleasure
of companionship, which seems
more honorable.

3 responses

  1. As any newcomer to the broadcasts of blogs, I wondered if the companionship of conversation could be realized, or if, instead, the experience would be more like a gaggle of strangers each trying to out-honk the others. And encountering a wonderful post like this seems both to realize a companionship and to lay an articulate basis for it, in a pure pleasure in the flow of call and response, address and reply, in a quiet selflessness.

  2. Ed, Cat, I omitted the lovely explanation that Oppen provides of this poem. “Written originally in a letter to Charles Tomlinson who, in his reply, suggested this division into lines of verse. The poem is, therefore, a collaboration.” Collaboration over a call to collaboration, you might say.

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