I had never heard of the poet Trumbull Stickney, which is not surprising, since he died in 1904 at the age of thirty having published only one volume of verse (Dramatic Verses, Boston: Charles E. Goodspeed, 1902). I discovered him, as I discover many good things, at wood s lot, where you can find two of his poems in today’s post (the sonnet “The melancholy year is dead with rain” and “Mnemosyne”); they are as good as anything Pound wrote before he discovered his true voice in Cathay, and what might Stickney’s true voice have turned out to be like once he’d shaken off the clinging tendrils of the nineteenth century? Fruitless speculation, of course, but one late fragment raises the hair on my neck in the way only true poetry can:
Sir, say no more.
Within me ‘t is as if
The green and climbing eyesight of a cat
Crawled near my mind’s poor birds.