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Mississippi Vistas: Volume One of A Mississippi Trilogy

by Louis Daniel Brodsky

An Accompaniment to the Rain

All the way down past Cape,
Sikeston, New Madrid, and Hayti
To Blytheville, through Memphis
And on into Oxford off I-55,
The rain reiterated its slow, silver grief
As though someone in the celestial order
Had suffered a reversal of fate.

By the time I arrived six hours later,
The sky had cried itself out;
Streets were dry, and lush growth,
Imperceptibly dripping,
Was already sapping July's humidity.
Indeed, by evening, I'd even forgotten
The funeral that had taken place

In which I, at the head of a cortège,
Had led the procession of one,
Transporting a spirit from its sweet retreat
Among family and friends,
Into a land of strange, vacant faces.
In fact, I'd not even recognized myself
As the dead man lying in state.

Even now, surrounded by white silence,
Rowan Oak's solitude disguises the nature
Of my transfiguration. Strolling slowly
Into the fragrance of Bailey's Woods,
I wade deeper, as into an ocean,
Knowing only my ghost will return home
To my wife, my children, myself.

Use the player below to listen to Louis Daniel Brodsky read this poem.



As the first book of a complete cycle tracing one man's relationship with the South, volume one of this trilogy begins with the images captured by an enthusiastic, idealistic Northern outlander during his treks to the region immortalized by Faulkner— Oxford, Mississippi.


Mississippi Vistas is a remarkably effective book. You and F.[aulkner] and Mississippi are there, and that relationship is, of course, the single, demanding subject. The book works. The poetic tone is right for the occasion, the sense of the occasion demanding the man's attention is accurately there. I want to say that the first three poems are extremely effective in giving a deep sense of the traveler and his mission. . . . A unique book, which I am grateful for in all senses.
— Robert Penn Warren, America's first poet laureate and author of All The King's Men

Click here to read some of Brodsky's Faulkner essays and interviews.

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