Nola Garrett: poet & translator
Elegy for Anthony Hecht
Elegy for Anthony Hecht
Nola Garrett: a floridian poet Dynamite Poems Sestinas Translations Bibliography Vita Contact

Who could have hoped for this eventual peace?
"Green: an epistle" Anthony Hecht

There's no facile way to console
those of us mourning on this day,
you, Dr. Hecht, who have forever annexed rot
and all of its possibilities. Your ivory
bones slept in a mean tower
fragile as the paper

you wrote your poems upon, those paper
lanterns of infinite folds, your ornamental consolations,
cataloging Europe's towering
losses--The Hard Hours, Yolek's day--
now made into our grief, too. Yolek's ivory
smoke falls upon us. We smell his rot,

because you encountered rot
in exquisite places, confronted paper
with your lance--an ivory
iambic line. Such elegant consolation
you gave for our insufficient days
amid the towering

snows of Rochester and the towering
demands of the Dover bitch. Rot,
after all was your keynote, your day
star enkindling your lines across paper.
I wonder what consolations
you made of lymphoma, your very fluids' ivory

betrayal? May you be met by an ivory
being, Noh Ting Wong, a vast leaning tower
of an angel, an imperfect consol
(misericord, if you will), your guide through the rot
of Heaven. Isaiah will explicate his paper
reeds by the brooks. Horace will lend you his day

bed where he so often lays
with divers nymphs upon an ivy
counterpane and sips peppered
wine. And, may the Powers
of Babel spread before you the whole lot
of a new, broken language--oh, glorious desolation!