Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Morning Reading: "The Wheel Revolves"

In this morning's Los Angeles Times, the obituary of Carol Tinker:

Tinker, Carol
October 6, 1940 - April 9, 2012

struck and calm – I want what you want – a calm –empty days and – cumulative energy like thought – forgetting.” – Carol Tinker, Four Young Women: Poems

Poet Kenneth Rexroth’s widow, the poet and painter Carol Tinker, passed away April 9, 2012 after a long illness. A forty year resident of Santa Barbara, California, she possessed a brilliant mind, an insatiable intellect, and a broad range of interests. Her devotion to her husband’s artistic legacy was fierce and unflagging.

Carol Tinker was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1940, studied Fine Arts at Carnegie-Mellon University and moved to San Francisco in 1962, where she met Rexroth. She will be buried next to him at the bluff top Santa Barbara Cemetery; graveside service at 2:30 on Friday, April 13, 2012.

Carol Tinker is survived by her brother John Morgan Tinker of Lincoln City, Oregon and her sister, Mary Tinker Hatch of Wayland, Massachusetts.

A spectacle of cruelty
A stand of cypress burning
The eyelid drops on no mans land
Hot ashes fall below eye level
To form a mold
Of what is seen
The mold that needs the ear to test it
Ringing true
A bell like form
Studded with rocks that fall like
Jewels from their setting
As time collapses

Carol Tinker
from The Pillow Book

And to mark the occasion, a poem by Kenneth Rexroth. It is about his daughter, not about his last wife Carol Tinker, but it was written while married to Tinker and it has the elegaic quality I was looking for this morning as I picked my way through the last section of The Complete Poems of Kenneth Rexroth (751 pages, Copper Canyon Press, edited by Sam Hamill and Bradford Morrow).

The Wheel Revolves
by Kenneth Rexroth

You were a girl of satin and gauze
Now you are my mountain and waterfall companion.
Long ago I read those lines of Po Chu I
Written in his middle age.
Young as I was they touched me.
I never thought in my own middle age
I would have a beautiful young dancer
To wander with me by falling crystal waters,
Among mountains of snow and granite,
Least of all that unlike Po’s girl
She would be my very daughter.

The earth turns towards the sun.
Summer comes to the mountains.
Blue grouse drum in the red fir woods
All the bright long days.
You put blue jay and flicker feathers
In your hair.
Two and two violet green swallows
Play over the lake.
The blue birds have come back
To nest on the little island.
The swallows sip water on the wing
And play at love and dodge and swoop
Just like the swallows that swirl
Under and over the Ponte Vecchio.
Light rain crosses the lake
Hissing faintly. After the rain
There are giant puffballs with tortoise shell backs
At the edge of the meadow.
Snows of a thousand winters
Melt in the sun of one summer.
Wild cyclamen bloom by the stream.
Trout veer in the transparent current.
In the evening marmots bark in the rocks.
The Scorpion curls over the glimmering ice field.
A white crowned night sparrow sings as the moon sets.
Thunder growls far off.
Our campfire is a single light
Amongst a hundred peaks and waterfalls.
The manifold voices of falling water
Talk all night.
Wrapped in your down bag
Starlight on your cheeks and eyelids
Your breath comes and goes
In a tiny cloud in the frosty night.
Ten thousand birds sing in the sunrise.
Ten thousand years revolve without change.
All this will never be again.


(with thanks to Larry Ruth)


1 comment:

Lyle Daggett said...

I hadn't seen the news of Carol Tinker's passing. I'm sad to learn of this. I knew of her only through her poetry, and that she was married to Rexroth. I'm in no position to guess at the demands and devotions of her life and her self, though I have to belief she was a person of great commitment and soulfulness.

Thanks for posting this. And thanks also for your comment in my blog a few days ago.

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