I was reading a poem by W. S. Merwin in the New Yorker the other day
and as usual I was feeling pretty intimidated by all those long lines
he always writes and of course all the stuff that was going to be
in there about how things look in New England especially in the fall
and maybe even trout fishing and what it all means to the human soul on a
universal level because Fall in New England is always dynamic
and everywhere else is parochial but I decided to read his poem
anyway because I thought maybe I could just stand it
and he started in by talking about a barn door and some stones
on a hillside and an old man hoeing the dirt which seemed
allright to me even though it was as usual Fall in New England
because I really liked the imagery he made which is something
I always like because it puts pictures in my head even if I
am parochial and never even seen New England in the Fall when he
started in to saying as to how all this imagery really felt to him
which also meant how his personal feelings were all
about what the universal condition of man is and I got to
thinking about how glad I was I wasn't in some English
class again because those last five or six lines about universal
New England consciousness are always the ones your
freshman English instructor wants you to write a six page
double-spaced paper on and I hate it when that happens

James DeFord

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