From Sadness and Happiness: Poems by Robert Pinsky:
CEREMONY FOR ANY BEGINNING
Against weather, and the random
Harpies--mood, circumstance, the laws
Of biography, chance, physics--
The unseasonable soul holds forth,
Eager for form as a renowned
Pedant, the emperor's man of worth,
Hereditary arbiter of manners.
Soul, one's life is one's enemy.
As the small children learn, what happens
Takes over, and what you were goes away.
They learn it in sardonic soft
Comments of the weather, when it sharpens
The hard surfaces of daylight: light
Winds, vague in direction, like blades
Lavishing their brilliant strokes
All over a wrecked house,
The nude wallpaper and the brute
Intelligence of the torn pipes.
Therefore when you marry or build
Pray to be untrue to the plain
Dominance of your own weather, how it keeps
Going even in the woods when not
A soul is there, and how it implies
Always that separate, cold
Splendidness, uncouth and unkind--
On chilly, unclouded mornings,
Torrential sunlight and moist air,
Leafage and solid bark breathing the mist.
"Remarkable. . . What [these poems] are attempting is important: nothing less than the recovery for language of a whole domain of mute and familiar experience."--Hugh Kenner, The Los Angeles Times Book Review
"The pleasures of Pinsky. . . . are the unfashionable, or at least the unfamiliar, ones of sanity, the cool entertainment of alternatives, and the conviction. . . that speech. . . is not only interesting but shares with both lyric and nonsense a certainty of resonance. . . . "--Richard Howard, Poetry
"It is refreshing to find a poet who is intellectually interesting and technically first-rate. Robert Pinsky belongs to that rarest category of talents, a poet-critic."--Robert Lowell
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Robert Pinsky: