December 17, 2020

Marvin Bell

CREATURES

Am I to save the spider in the bathtub,
who lives in the drain
and can scramble up porcelain as if
its feet are suction, or shall I
be done with it,
as I have been done with ants and snails,
with armed yellowjackets
and the mice and the bats? You
tell me, who among us is not
taking steps that preclude the moral
disquisitions of a study group?
And the honeybees are gone this spring,
who lived next door for the last years
of their keeper’s health. He also
tended the graves of the war dead
at the Fort, and he kept, in an old car,
kindling piled to the roof. After
the operation, he could walk on a walker
but not chop wood. A Navy man,
he would have gone to sea
again, had they called,
leaving the civilian buzz of disquiet
without a thought.

from Rattle 29, Summer 2008

__________

Marvin Bell: “It’s true that, no matter what, the literary world is full of insult. When you put yourself out to the public, you’re going to get some negative stuff. But writing just feels wonderful. I mean, I love the discovery aspect of writing. I love that. I love saying what I didn’t know I knew, not knowing where I’m headed, abandoning myself to the materials to figure out where I’m going. Of course your personality is going to come out of it, of course your obsessions are going to make themselves known, of course if you have a philosophic mind a matrix of philosophy will be behind things; everyone has a stance, an attitude, a vision, a viewpoint. All that will come out. But in the meantime, you’re just dog-paddling like mad. And that’s fun. That’s what I always liked about every art.”

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