The Extreme Verge
by Evelyn Hooven (August 2016)
“You are now within a foot of th’ extreme verge. . . .” (King Lear, iv, vi)
Karl Jaspers on “boundary situations” (Grenzsituationen): “Death, suffering, struggle, chance, guilt—along with wonder and doubt—we react to them either by obfuscation or, if we really apprehend them, by despair and rebirth: we become ourselves. . . .”
You led me to a verge
Past falling, when all the falling’s finished,
And I lie grieving, bereaved and dumb.
At a point past falling,
And past the bruise of rocks, I lay waning,
Dull and diminished, waiting to disappear.
The point past falling
Is like a bell unstrung from the tower
And hurled from ropes that held it high and spired,
Like a bell unringing
With no ritual to sing, no tolls exhorting
Celebrants to trample the homes of death.
Like the point past falling
I lay, a bell with no hours, no striking, no
Ceremonies to say, an unperformer.
You pushed me to a verge
Past mourning, and I lie like a still-struck
Griever, unchanting, bereaved, and dumb.
Evelyn Hooven graduated from Mount Holyoke College and received her M.A. from Yale University, where she also studied at The Yale School of Drama. A member of the Dramatists’ Guild, she has had presentations of her verse dramas at several theatrical venues, including The Maxwell Anderson Playwrights Series in Greenwich, CT (after a state-wide competition) and The Poet’s Theatre in Cambridge, MA (result of a national competition). Her poems and translations from the French have appeared in ART TIMES, Chelsea, The Literary Review, THE SHOp: A Magazine of Poetry (in Ireland), The Tribeca Poetry Review, Vallum (in Montreal), and other journals, and her literary criticism in Oxford University’s Essays in Criticism.
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