I had forgotten how good Lowell is; I haven’t read any of his work since my senior year of college. By way of biblioklept I discovered an mp3 rendition of his poem, “Old Flame,” which is more enjoyable to hear and read at the same time, so I converted the mp3 into a movie file and uploaded it to youtube. I’ve also pasted the poem below.
The Old FlameMy old flame, my wife!Remember our lists of birds?One morning last summer, I droveby our house in Maine. It was stillon top of its hill –Now a red ear of Indian maizewas splashed on the door.Old Glory with thirteen stripeshung on a pole. The clapboardwas old-red schoolhouse red.Inside, a new landlord,a new wife, a new broom!Atlantic seaboard antique shoppewter and plundershone in each room.A new frontier!No running next doornow to phone the sherifffor his taxi to Bathand the State Liquor Store!No one saw your ghostlyimaginary loverstare through the windowand tightenthe scarf at his throat.Health to the new people,health to their flag, to their oldrestored house on the hill!Everything had been swept bare,furnished, garnished and aired.Everything’s changed for the best –how quivering and fierce we were,there snowbound together,simmering like waspsin our tent of books!Poor ghost, old love, speakwith your old voiceof flaming insightthat kept us awake all night.In one bed and apart,we heard the plowgroaning up hill –a red light, then a blue,as it tossed off the snowto the side of the road.Robert Lowell