“Corsons Inlet” is a poem of 128 lines recounting the poet’s reaction to what he sees, thinks, and feels during a morning walk along a seashore. It becomes an almost ecstatic celebration of change, of form as temporary but beautiful because it cannot endure. The poem is written in what seems to be free verse, but while it avoids rhyme there are frequent echoings of sound. While the line lengths vary from one syllable to as many as fifteen, there is something approaching a pattern in the arrangement of the lines; while there are no stanzas or strophes, the patterns formed by groups of lines bear a shifting resemblance to one another.
This avoidance of clear patterns while suggesting that patterns do exist is a reflection of the central idea of “Corsons Inlet.” As the poet walks, he finds himself liberated from the “straight lines, blocks, boxes, binds/ of thought” into a world of sensation and motion. His mind can move freely, and he characterizes his work as “swerves of action” like the changing shape of sand dunes. He can cope with details, no matter how small, but the question of whether there is a single meaning in the process, some all-encompassing pattern, is not his to answer: “overall is beyond me.”
Having rejected wide-ranging philosophies, the poet proclaims his openness, his willingness to accept what he sees and to allow the forms to define themselves. He describes the transitions in the natural world, which...
(The entire section is 448 words.)