Imagining Patterson

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Building anew

Sculpture "Cubi XII" by David Smith

I took the city as my 'case' to work up, really to work it up. It called for a poetry such as I did not know, it was my duty to discover or make such a context on the 'thought.' (William Carlos Williams, in Williams 1963

Without invention nothing is well spaced

unless the mind changes, unless

the stars are new measured, according

to their relative positions, the

line will not change, the necessity

will not matriculate : unless there is

a new mind there cannot be a new

line, the old will go on

repeating itself with recurring

deadliness: without invention

nothing lies under the witch-hazel

bush, the alder does not grow from among

the hummocks margining the all

but spent channel of the old swale,

the small foot-prints

of the mice under the overhanging

tufts of the bunch-grass will not

appear: without invention the line

will never again take on its ancient

divisions when the word, a supple word

lived in it, crumbled now to chalk.

Patterson, section 50