Comment on Ghoti and see more Heather McHugh poems below.
The gh comes from rough, the o from women's,
and the ti from unmentionables--presto:
there's the perfect English instance of
Our wish was for a better
revelation: for a correspondence--
if not lexical, at least
phonetic; if not with Madonna
then at least with Mary Magdalene.
Instead we get the sheer
opacity of things: an accident
of incident, a tracery of history: the dung
inside the dungarees, the jock strap for a codpiece, and
the ruined patches bordering the lip.
One boot (high-heeled) could make
Sorrento sorry, Capri corny, even little Italy
a little ill.
Low-cased, a lover looks
one over--eggs without ease, semen without oars--
and there, on board, tricked out in fur and fin,
the landlubber who wound up captain.
Where's it going,
this our (H)MS? More west? More forth? The quest
itself is at a long and short behest: it's wound
(Take rough from seas, and women from the shore,
unmentionables out of mind).
for something rich, beyond
What do I mean? (What can one say?)
A minute of millenium, unculminating
stint, a stonishment: my god, what's
utterable? Gargah, gatto, goat.
Us animals is made
to seine and trawl and drag and gaff
our way across the earth.
The earth, it rolls.
We dig, lay lines, book arguably
But earth remains untranslated,
A million herring run where we
catch here a freckle, there a pock; the depths to which things live
words only glint at.
Terns in flight work up
what fond minds might
As for that
semantic antic in the distance, is it
whiskered fish, finned cat? Don't settle
just for two.
Some bottomographies are
brooded over, and some skies swum through.
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