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Thursday, April 29, 2010

RONATHON! Day 4, The Umapine Tetralogy: The History of the Turtle

In the late 1960's Ronald H. Bayes began work on a series of books that would eventually be known as his Umapine Tetralogy. The books are, like Ezra Pound's Cantos, a lengthy discursive poem in sections. Ron chooses "Passus" as his section marker because, he says, "it involves a journey" and is also the sectioning Langland uses in Piers Ploughman. Each of the four volumes is comprised of four sections and the entirety took sixteen years to complete, keeping with the concept of fours (Ron often talks about his fascination with Buckminster Fuller's assertion that four is the basic number of universe). The poem at large, like an epic, contains history, although much of it is personal history and reflection. The subject matter begins in 1952 with the nomination of Dwight D. Eisenhower, and ends with the ritual suicide of Yukio Mishima in 1972. The first book is called The History of the Turtle, the second, Porpoise, the third, Tokyo Annex, and the fourth, Fram.

from The History of the Turtle



& each man says as he has sd before
as god perhaps says & has sd before
"I doubt the worth Of my work
& the worth of this world!"
Pour menu:

Let us contemplate

We have some place to go
In 20 yrs (we are 4)
who! will.

. . . . .

In a time
this will be real
it will be dug.


"Please let me know;
Your silence is so long.
I fear for you
Because you are strong--
Fear nonetheless
Though you are grace."



Well, Jack,
our politics wd disagree
but not our hearts.
Damn politics, then, Jack Reed!
one evening at least.

I wish I'd known you.

Light heart & high endeavor never named a dearer
son, or Oregon
produced such buoyancy.

Race up the beach
dive in the Willamette
& have Olympic games on a lonely
Pacific ledge. Swim the Columbia alone
when you shdn't! Sing! laugh, tell'em

life can be green always
& growing bigger always. Reed,
Reed, what do they do to us to
make us leave such?

Ivy you learnt can strangle one's endeavor,
money you knew cd never buy out worth, slavery
you saw as ill no matter who held
the high hand & cobra whip:
clergy you kenned had patented passion at some price:
half-assed control. Laughing you fought for license
for all hearts to live somewhat.

&. John, dogma tripped you. Sureness drowned
you as sure as Roman Romance keyed diptheria.
& I, I have survived 3 dogmas & do pray the breakage of your
heart & body some sane time will serve as flag to put
new uns off.
Be in my mind when such demands are pressed. Please.
Age, John, makes friends less passionate sometimes,
at least my friends. I know you never slowed
to shine to elders; let me not slow, but still love by
heart, not calculation, repudiation, advance. Dig?
Help ignore like pious eyes
& bad hinged disapproving tongues
Dear Westerner--
you didn't die, finally, for politics--
love, man (love: Man)
& when they use you--Reds or Lily Whites--
you mock 'em in their sullen graves

Love gives a garland, John.
And laughter / god damned if it aint holy /--saves.

& each man says as he has said before
as god perhaps says & has said before

"I doubt the worth of my work
& the worth of this world"

& yet


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