Fascinating, often inexplicable, the poet’s mind.
In his poem, The Cobweb, Raymond Carver
stands on the deck of a house, reflective
as he looks out to the sea — it is placid,
at low tide. The air is unmoving. No birdsong
breaks the silence. His thoughts are shaped
by the calm of the moment. He ponders
the record of his life, the things that have
happened to him over the years — the pain
and sorrows, heartache, the love, the joy.
He rests against the deck railing, beneath
an eave. A cobweb brushes his forehead,
catches in his hair. He goes inside, carefully
drapes the delicate mesh over a lampshade.
Still pensive, he studies the cobweb, intrigued
by its elaborate design. The intricate latticework
of threads quiver, touched by the in and out
of his breathing. Carver contemplates what
remains of his life.
Hayden Carruth, one of Carver’s poet
friends, in his poem, Ray, sits at his kitchen
table eating pie at one-thirty in the morning.
He weeps as he chews man-sized chunks
of the store-bought pie. He’s been reading
Carver’s last book, A New Path to the Waterfall.
It contains poignant poems that chronicle the
dying man’s final days. He reflects on the
wonder of his friend’s painfully lucid writing,
how difficult it must have been to pen these
revealing poems, verses endowed with the
realities of his impending fate. He knows Carver
would have known, as he wrote, Carruth,
and others of his friends would be reading his poems,
pained by the passing of a dear friend and fellow poet.
In the clutch of the moment Carruth sees himself
as an old fool for eating pie as he laments the death
of his friend. Tears, like tiny drops of glitter,
fall onto the pie, the plate, his hand. He wipes
his eyes. Finishes the pie. It tasted good.
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Poet friends. One dies, the other laments his passing.