Intrications 1–5 | Linda Chown

In·​tri·​ca·​tion | \ ˌin‧trə̇ˈkāshən, -trēˈ-\

   1 obsolete : complication, complexity
2 : interrelation, intermeshing


Linda Chown

Emily Dickinson
public domain image


Intrication 1
John Donne and Emily Dickinson
Together in Their Light

to write poems like John Donne
as “a part of the main,”
an intrication of the same
a glorification or the name
to bring us near to what lies far
in the cloudy rift of sight
and, like Emily Dickinson,
to heft that flood of light

Intrication 2
The Man with the Tragic Sense of life:
Miguel de Unamuno

the silent snow comes down
white and weightless;
Snowfall makes no noise, 
falls as forgetting falls
             —Miguel de Unamuno

the weather winters me over to
Unamuno whose brawny courage 
comes to mind us orphans:
to bell our feathers 
in a flight of conditionals:
this is a swarm of grammar 
“falling as forgetting falls.”
This  orchestrated placement
of words rows with time 
to scratch verbs free, 
to change the tone of timing;
writing long and lightly,
singing in that dreamy man’s
tragic sense of life. His deepest silent snow falling
as forgetting falls to remember,
to conjugate our living. 

El pensamiento político
de don Miguel de Unamuno
Fernando Álvarez Balbuena
El pensamiento político
de don Miguel de Unamuno
Fernando Álvarez Balbuena


Intrication 3
William Blake for whose sake

William Blake for whose sake I am not mourning
but adoring the grounds
you make draw and shake
into exquisite honesty
raw and plain, intricate
like a winter street in the morning
all that bustle
of people becoming themselves

Intrication 4
Disasters of War: Goya

Life all began with Goya’s disasters
of war, with war, the way people’s faces
peaked smaller, frozen and fixed,
moths who didn’t want to be in the fraudulence of that frame,
the heat of that name,
shattered by the sword, more blood
be gone by the inch
than by any dependence.
That angular man became an angle,
a shape of himself in charcoal with a smudge
and the grudgers had no place as war whipped their faces
immaculate, wedged, destroyed in that pitch of war
which Goya swole up in war’s cup of insane pain,
faces beyond feeling, faces insane and writhing
Goya put their pain to last in a quiet space,
odd twisted people aching to shout out haunting their frame
and scalding our name.

Self-portrait of Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828)
Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828)

Intrication 5
Lithuanian Slavic

There was something particularly cruel
In this peace of the night, whose beauty
and human crime struck the human heart simultaneously
                                                            —Czeslaw Milosz

I am bonded to a Slavic sense,
a shrouded mystery lit
by a slant twinkle
and lasting goose flesh
at the screaming going on

Images of fear
doorbells, smothering and secrets
cloud out chronology in my time.

Faces with a bond of pain,
we float in our firmament
where the clatter of the heart
compels us to matter.

These life-streaked faces
are a memory of mind
squeamish in departure,
all the blood unspoken for:
buckling cobblestones
incendiary overtones
when the time of our bones
crinkles in the fires of history.

Image of Linda Chown looking up at the camera.
Linda Chown

Linda Chown, has published four poetry collections, Buildings and Ways, All the Way up the Sky, Inside In, and To Say Thinking with the Binding Precision of Dreams. Poems in Foothill Quarterly, Quixote, Intro 3, Dark Horse, Magdalene Syndrome Gazette, Women Spirit, Grand Valley Review, Empty Mirror, Numéro Cinq, Poethead. She worked five years with the outstanding San Francisco Poetry Center, with extensive workshopping and friendships in the Bay Area artistic community. She published a critical book, Narrative Authority and Homeostasis in Selected Works of Doris Lessing and Carmen Martín Gaite and numerous essays and reviews, recently in Empty Mirror, Numéro Cinq, and Buzcritics.org and in various journals. She spent 18 years living, writing, and teaching in southern Spain where she was a Fulbright professor of America literature for two years, giving talks in Spain, one year at the University of Deusto, one year at the University of Salamanca. Subsequently, she has taught for many years at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. She is writing more all the time. 

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