By Gerald Lynch
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Extra resources for Bliss Carman: A Reappraisal
We might end by examining one of his simpler, if still memorable, poems, "Love, by that loosened hair," presumably inspired by Seaborn, Jessie Kappeler. It is simple in that it is another list or lover's catalogue and enumerates only three features in three symmetrical stanzas, the symmetry reinforced by the use of anaphora. Love, by that loosened hair, Well now I know Where the lost Lilith went So long ago. Love, by those starry eyes I understand How the sea maidens lure Mortals from land. 39 Love, by that welling laugh Joy claims its own Sea-born and wind-wayward Child of the sun.
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It seems Carman had a mistress named Mary Perry King. She lived with her husband in New Canaan; Carman too lived, rather fortuitously, in the same small town. And each of these three must have made generous allowances for the other two. Carman used to walk to his mistress's house every morning. And Doctor King walked to work as well, at the same time and on the same street. They would pass each other on opposite sides, each with different objectives. Carman's personal objective need not be explored further.