Week 27 of Syntax Sundays: Joseph James Cawein

Joseph James Cawein has been featured on our Syntax Sundays before, and his work never fails to impress. The extended question format drags the poem, evoking the reader to re-read and thus allowing the ability for a constant flux of  comprehension and meaning. The poem’s movement is fluid as well, dipping from material worlds to mystical universalities and in between past and present conjugations; in essence, it moves through and around the reader.

Had IHad I muttered a clever word,

And the cloying tunes leaked more scrupulously
Through the myriad sunless dawns,
And particles of fractured light
Wept celestial pigments and cerebral illusions,
And threnodies of cascading dusk
Been specters glowing on the horizon,
Adjusting the antenna of the firmament
And granting such crystal reception,
Had the ethereal awakenings of starry exposure
Not dissolved into nihility
Shrieking visions of the empyrean shadow
And bursting in delicate blackness,
And I not bowed my head in crooked classrooms
And sojourned my thoughts in stony sublimation
Enduring the stately and ruinous persuasions
Of a fickle echo through the empty hall,
Tell me, would it then be so?

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