(To Walker Evans.

This week I’ll post poems by other folks as well as some from myself time and again, along with other normal stuff maybe if I feel like it. Today’s poem is by James Agee and comes from the excellent book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. My manifesto also comes from that book:

“Isn’t every human being both a scientist and an artist; and in writing of human experience, isn’t there a good deal to be said for recognizing that fact and for using both methods?”


(To Walker Evans.

Against time and the damages of the brain
Sharpen and calibrate. Not yet in full,
Yet in some arbitrated part
Order the façade of the listless summer.
Spies, moving delicately among the enemy,
The younger sons, the fools,
Set somewhat aside the dialects and the stained skins of feigned
    madness,
Ambiguously signal, baffle, the eluded sentinel.
Edgar, weeping for pity, to the shelf of that sick bluff,
Bring your blind father, and describe a little;
Behold him, part wakened, fallen among field flowers shallow
But undisclosed, withdraw.
Not yet that naked hour when armed,
Disguise flung flat, squarely we challenge the fiend.
Still, comrade, the running of beasts and the ruining of heaven
Still captive the old wild king.