The Garden of Earthly Delights: Book of Ghazals: A Scrambled Abecedarian
The Garden of Earthly Delights: Book of Ghazals
— Poems by Stephen Gibson
The Garden of Earthly Delights: Book of Ghazals: A Scrambled Abecedarian ranges across time and place in visiting personal as well as historical and even imagined experience. As an abecedarian was once used to teach the basics of a thing—say, to recognize an alphabet—Gibson, who has labelled his collection a “scrambled abecedarian,” suggests that all meaning arises out of disorder. However, it is from this disorder that the varied subjects of the poems, controlled by a single form comprising the collection, are shaped into a significance, whether that significance is to record a life at its start, or at its conclusion.
In Degas’ The Absinthe Drinker, the woman in the bar
looks so alone and depressed as she stares at her drink.
Earlier, she was imagining she would meet someone
as she was getting dressed; now, she stares at her drink.
There are drunks all around. Everyone drinks absinthe.
Lower-class women love it best. They stare at the drink
(it’s a poison, literally; they could care less), as they pour
it over sugar to cut its bitterness. They stare and drink.
Degas said he viewed women as if through a bathroom keyhole:
she gazes into her crystal ball’s green mist—stares, drinks.