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Lions Roar : July 2008
THE FORMS OF LOVE Parked in the fields All night So many years ago, We saw A lake beside us When the moon rose. I remember Leaving that ancient car Together. I remember Standing in the white grass Beside it. We groped Our way together Downhill in the bright Incredible light Beginning to wonder Whether it could be lake Or fog We saw, our heads Ringing under the stars we walked To where it would have wet our feet Had it been water GEORGE OPPEN was one of a group of poets known as the Objec- tivists. In the thirties he became politically active enough to need, during the McCarthy scourge, to move to Mexico. He returned to the United States, and to poetry, in 1958, and was awarded the Pu- litzer prize in 1969. An infinity of statements have been made, and continue to be, (and will be, in all likelihood, forever) about the constructs and theories of poetry—how to read it, how to write it, whether it means something. But none of that conjecture and obsession can write a poem. Poetry, when it is working, is genetic, springs from that place we have never managed to define, like love, like laughter, however much the mind busies itself with owning and inventing the terms. It springs from the page like a laugh from the belly of an entire roomful of people, at once, and in agreement. It springs from itself, intending to be there. Jack Spicer once said, “A poet thinks he’s the pitcher, but really he’s the catcher.” The mind so wants, so needs, to own it all, and will talk endlessly about love, and sex (and poetry) as if they can be contained and explained by thought and attendant verbiage. We want to believe that the impulses that throw us around, that create our lives and interfere with them, are “topics.” But really, poor us, lucky us, we’re forever the catchers, caught and subject to our humanity, with our hopes, laughter, love, and poetry. George Oppen gave us endless instances of this. He said: There are things We live among ‘and to see them Is to know ourselves’. BOBBIE LOUISE HAWKINS is a fiction writer, monologist, performer, and poet. She originated the prose track of the Writing Program at Naropa University. Her forthcoming book is Absolutely Eden (United Artists.) About a Poem: Bobbie Louise Hawkins on “The Forms of Love,” by George Oppen PHOTOBYLIZAMATTHEWS JULY 100-112.indd 112 JULY 100-112.indd 112 4/25/08 11:48:10 AM 4/25/08 11:48:10 AM