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From the archives — The Worst of One’s Bewilderment — Guy Kettelhack

The Worst of One’s Bewilderment

Standing lamp, small faded shade – with painted
roosters – red and green – cavorting ‘round
the cone of it: as if to mark the zone of it
as theirs – that is, to offset the considerable airs
of my stuffed monkey jester, slinky bounder clad

and hatted in sleek velvet – midnight blue and dark
cerise – whose malleable limbs cling to the frieze
of metal loops – from one of which additionally swings
a stylishly be-glittered cardboard turquoise
peacock – loops and boughs that fix the lampshade

and its bulb onto a slender trunk of pole that shoots
down to the floor: a scaffolding that dates back
to whenever my step-grandmother obtained it – 1944,
I’ll guess – although my monkey and my peacock
timelessly and tirelessly refresh it every day – in their way.

I cannot understand – much less affect – one speck
of motive in the dimmest being in the sentient Universe
but I create assemblages like these to make
me think I’ve got some sway. Roosters, monkeys,
peacocks keep the worst of one’s bewilderment at bay.

by Guy Kettelhack

from Autumn Sky Poetry Number 4, December 2006


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