Skip to main content

The form of my poem rises out of a past that so overwhelms the present with its worth and vision that I’m at a loss to explain my delusion that there exist any real links between that past and a future worthy of it. The "destiny" is long since completed, perhaps the little last section of my poem [i. e., various drafts of what would become "Atlantis"] is a hangover echo of it – but it hangs suspended somewhere in the ether like an Absalom by his hair [rebellious Absalom was killed by loyalist Joab when his hair became entangled in a tree]. The bridge as a symbol today has no significance beyond an economical approach to shorter hours, quicker lunches, behaviorism and toothpicks. And inasmuch as the bridge is a symbol of all such poetry as I am interested in writing it is my present fancy that a year from now I’ll be more contented working in an office than ever before. Rimbaud was the last great poet that our civilization will see – he let off all the great cannon crackers in Valhalla’s parapets, the sun has set theatrically several times since while [Jules] Laforgue, Eliot and others of that kidney have whimpered fastidiously. Everybody writes poetry now – and "poets" for the first time are about to receive official social and economic recognition in America. It’s really all the fashion, but a dead bore to anticipate. If only America were half as worthy today to be spoken of as Whitman spoke of it fifty years ago there might be something for one to say – not that Whitman received or required any tangible proof of his intimations, but that time has shown how increasingly lonely and ineffectual his confidence stands.