Thursday, November 8, 2012

"The Mango Tree" by Hart Crane / Comment by Donald Revell

                           The Mango Tree

Let them return, saying you blush again for the great
Great-grandmother. It’s all like Christmas.
     When you sprouted Paradise a discard of chewing-gum 
took place. Up jug to musical hanging jug just gay spiders 
yoked you first, – silking of shadows good underdrawers for 
     First-plucked before and since the flood, old hypnotisms 
wrench the golden boughs. Leaves spatter dawn from emerald 
cloud-sprockets. Fat final prophets with lean bandits crouch:
the dusk is close
                                      Under your noon,
                                      you Sun-heap whose
ripe apple-lanterns gush history, recondite lightnings, irised.
                                      O mister Señor
                                      missus Miss
                                      with baskets
                                                    Maggy, come on

I love to remember the sweet perplexity and then the buoyancy I felt when first I read "The Mango Tree." Here is the purity of child's play in its full maturity. Risibly Rimbaldian in its references to Christmas and the flood and, via those golden boughs, glad to blow a raspberry at its abandoned high modernism, "The Mango Tree" is nevertheless instantly far beyond or far above satire in its immediate permissions: "Let them return"; there's a further paradise in a wad of gum. And there the wonderful hyphens (as in "cloud-sprockets" and "apple-lanterns") spell a new technology of the sacred, as simple, as portable, as freely inclusive as "baskets." A pure poem is unresisting in its inclusiveness, having excluded from itself the arguments that tether its figures to figures of speech. So quickly, "The Mango Tree" accomplishes a sun-drenched purity equal to the most beautiful passages in Gertrude Stein's Tender Buttons yet free of that great book's programmatic emphases. "Maggy, come on" is a summons to new circumstance where the poem says, and needs to say, no more.