Futility in Key West

Mark Strand was one of Cynthia’s favorite poets. I just looked him up now and right away discovered his prose poem, Futility in Key West. This reminded me of The Idea of Order at Key West by Wallace Stevens, a poem I’ve memorized. Mark may have even had Stevens’ poem in mind. Here’s Mark’s paragraph:

I was stretched out on the couch, about to doze off, when I imagined a small figure asleep on a couch identical to mine. “Wake up, little man, wake up,” I cried. “The one you’re waiting for is rising from the sea, wrapped in spume, and soon will come ashore. Beneath her feet the melancholy garden will turn bright green and the breezes will be light as babies’ breath. Wake up, before this creature of the deep is gone and everything goes blank as sleep.” How hard I try to wake the little man, how hard he sleeps. And the one who rose from the sea, her moment gone, how hard she has become—how hard those burning eyes, that burning hair.

Kind of spooky but beautiful, except the ending with the burning eyes and hair is strange. I wonder if Cynthia ever saw this? What does the poem mean? Lots of room for the imagination here.

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