After Forethought contained musings about a poem “Afterward” by James Schuyler. In a wry fashion, I indicated without undue bibliographic precision that the poem in question was to be found in the corpus. When my friend Fadi Abou-Rihan mentioned the blog post, I went to rekindle my acquaintance with the poem by picking up the Collected Poems and was puzzled to see that the ending (“This room needs flowers.”) that had caught my attention was gone. Truncated, I believed. But the whole feel of the poem was off. It turns out that there are two poems entitled “Afterward”; one appears in The Morning of the Poem [That’s the one I singled out for its smart ending to a poem about getting out of hospital.]; the other is in Hymn to Life [It is about snow and its effects; contrasts city and country.] The newly discovered for me (reading all out of chronological order) is the ending to the “Afterword” poem in Hymn to Life which also has a botanical desideratum in its conclusion.
Dreaming of a white
By alders and firs.
Of course, both poems are in the Collected Poems which I did not have at hand. However, I am reminded by this little surprise of the advice to note bibliographic details meticulously when you have the object at hand. A piece of advice also iterated by Willard McCarty on the Humanist discussion list:
By far the most helpful course I took as an MA student — and the only one I remember — was dedicated to research methods. The professor (who had done his PhD before photocopiers) told us that whenever we had a book in our hands we should write down everything bibliographic about it that we could, as well as take very thorough notes, because we might never again be able to obtain the book. [And he goes on to confess.] Sloppy brevity does catch me occasionally — as it did yesterday, when I mistook my own comments in a note on a book for the words of the author.
And so for day 1721