"I enter-as-I-stray"

after feeling depressed reading A Tomb for Anatole, I had to read a collection called Child-And-Rose by Russian poet Gennady Aygi (trans. Peter France) – poems about the poet’s interaction with his baby daugter. They are beautiful and tender poems that are heavily influenced by Mallarme. Here are some examples:


roses – touch the eyes
of the baby:
day – be a circle: – oh butterfly:
come in – to mark:
the moment:
with white



Suddenly: a glance through the window – and i see just this: your little hand – among flowers



of the child
(and there – beyond the gate – the one
shaken by wind
the lake)

the weight
of a rosebud
(in the room next door – the one
through the field)


the general facts, supported by an idea of a feeling, and the objective correlative in the distant signified create a harmony of the real and the ideal that feels Mallarmean to me. A statement of Aygi’s poetics occurs in a poem titled “AGAIN – TRYING TO CATCH EXPRESSIONS”:

can one
in the wind – shades of wind? –

into a circle of light
circling (as with some question
perhaps: a little – with light) –

as in whispering almost without breathing
and in terror – before the meaning
of the movement of lips –

afterwards – and unconscious! –

I enter-as-I-stray


I like this idea of “enter-as-I-stray” as one fluid movement of poetic seeing – takes me back to Delaunay and Apollinaire, but with a Mallarmean circling and discernment.

Interestingly, i also read Oppen in some of Aygi’s poems:


a clearing. . . – and there:

a glimmer (like song):

(it is you) –

heaven looking . . . – as if the World understood it all:

“Oh, stay,

Happiness. You are complete.” –


(field of forest clearing)


Here is Oppen’s EXODUS:

Miracle of the children the brilliant
Children the word
Liquid as woodlands Children?

When she was a child I read Exodus
To my daughter ‘The children of Israel . . .’

Pillar of fire
Pillar of cloud

We stared at the end
Into each other’s eyes Where

Were the adults We dreamed to each other
Miracle of the children
The brilliant children Miracle

Of their brilliance Miracle

(note: please see source text for this poem cause the spacing’s all off and cant get it to grant the silence that is in the poem)

Well, maybe that’s a loose connection. Does anyone have any insight (or know any essays that explore) a connection between Oppen and Mallarme?


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