By Edward Butscher

If an experiment can be repeated

it proves itself, as may a name sung

by steeple bells in a mind’s Norway.


Language and consciousness echo

one another, a scholar reasoned.

I think I said I said I think I said I.


Edvard Munch’s sequences of lovers

and screams and self-portraits (set

between a clock and Van Gogh’s last


bed) retrace his global scream,

ringing out in cartoonish ripples

that ululate into a cosmic ocean.


Say it again, again and again, knees

exposed to rocks and shame in short

pants, finally shed for knickers, then


long pants, and a detached boyhood

of tulip trees and their visible roots

clawing at sky and armies of the dead.


Ordinary shapes paint in awareness,

walls, doors, women walking away

on high heels, repeatedly framed by


long slow days after broken nights

at the far end of an island and a life

that replicate what art once saved.



Edward Butscher is the author of first biographies of Sylvia Plath and Conrad Aiken, as well as shorter books on Adelaide Crapsey and Peter Wild, much criticism, and several books of poems, most recently, Eros Descending.

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