Home > Imitation > Keats in America; Ode to Wilderness

Keats in America; Ode to Wilderness

April 9, 2012

by Alex Cigale

No mythic grange of crag in snow and horn
Nor forests thick beyond numbering nor
Beasts uncountable dense upon the plain
Nor unspoiled terrain of river and glade

For not even the habitation of awe
That grandest scree of sublime solemnity
Has ‘scaped the ken of the learned geographer —

In leaden skies aligned on Canyon’s deep
As atmospheric growling scours the night
And astral satellites hurtling by sweep
The mottled towers in invisible light

In bottomless oceans scuffle machines
That bathe the abyss in resonants of sound
Etching an exquisite topography —

The most remote top of butte and plateau
Scarred by boot track and route littered with
Candy wrappers film canisters spent batteries

Where no road leads in but many peter out:
Wilderness; where I am and you aren’t.


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Alex Cigale’s poems recently appeared in the Colorado, Global City, Tampa, Green Mountains, and North American Reviews, Drunken Boat, Hanging Loose, McSweeney’s, Redactions, Tar River Poetry, and 32 Poems. His translations from the Russian can be found in Crossing Centuries: the New Generation in Russian Poetry, Cimarron Review, Literary Imagination, Modern Poetry in Translation, PEN America, Brooklyn Rail InTranslation, The Manhattan Review, and St. Ann’s Review. He is currently teaching at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

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  1. April 10, 2012 at 8:06 am

    My favorite line is that final one. Great stuff.

  2. cigalealex
    May 6, 2012 at 12:56 am

    Thanks, Hannah! The line between tribute and parody is an uncomfortable one; I found myself struggling with this one, and needing to push past….

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