Poem by Gershon Maller for Sophia…

Gershon Maller, dear friend and mentor of Sophia, has had a poem dedicated to her published in Text: https://textjournal.scholasticahq.com/article/23503-text-poetry-april-2021

Sophia, who shared many long conversations over good coffeee with Gershon about Plato and poetics, Wittgensgtein and Wallace Stevens, language and meaning, events from history or all things otherworldly, would be delighted!

To be a poet, Sophia said in a poem she wrote as a 13-year-old, is to be “a verb in a world/ Of nouns.” This was the grammar of being she lived vividly in every perception, in every thought, in every moment of her too-short life.

The hours she spent discussing philosophy with Gershon still, it seems, “spill light” into the world…


For Sophia Nugent-Siegal 

1. Cleaved by light 

are beings made from syllabi whose 

copular verbs breathe vowels alive 

as if there were a primary aureole 

where I, as subject in this opening 

clause, simply appear; brain, by noun 

modifier or phrasal bit, imagines limit, 

not feel what moves invisibly toward 

first thought just before this sentence 

began, aeons ago, in dream space; there 

more strangely true by hollow name, 

my verbs will not parse future or past 

but pout a cough to throat-clear meta 

speak; for games anew, I like to play. 

2. You & I the game,

livestream the second series in full view

seeking the mojo artefact who, conscious and verbal, zooms across screen

like a poet in search of microphone, and whom I, as first pronoun

elect to haiku my faux trope; for my world of words mirrors

yours by mixed metaphor, a matrix  

                                                            It aligns   even as I picture

                                                 larynx & brain    sound as verbs

                                                               in silence we tango


                                                                    images erasing

                                                         seem to speak each other

                                                           never answer points of light . . .

                                                                                                       as feelings,

where pain can click-bait life like eye hooks; perhaps I could know your pain

not mine, or shrink a cloud of unknowing into drop of reality, like the sharp

taste of tamarillo, a sense we share in fruit of quavering noun

as your eye follows mine over the edge 

 3. The treachery of images 

forming in your mind appear along this line as easily 

the world once seemed to Alice through her looking 

glass; think of Magritte’s illusion ‘this is not a pipe’ 

to picture a word game or redux esoteric personae: (1) 

The Lion Who Never Learns to Speak 

The Beetle of Pain in Private Box; or 

The Duck-Rabbit-Duck, to flicker 

your eye of perception on-and-off; we make-believe 

names are things,(2) as if a bug crawled in the letters 

of ‘beetle’, or a large cat prowled in ‘lion’; we do not 

see the world in its idea;(3)I could no more peel from 

a strawberry its taste, like a membrane, than my eye 

strip after-image of sun from flaring nuclei.(1) 

4. Elegy for X 

Silence follows my introspection 

into flux, but fallen into words 

returns me to Adieu; I never depart, 

my meditation arriving nowhere; as if 

being were more than gem of cutglass 

verb; I close my eyes, thoughts recede, 

imagine falling into heights of aural sky 

I breathe the body of air who breathes me, 

and withdrawing from mind, quell 

its chatter to find an innocence, other 

than the death of a forgotten child 

we abide as we can in her shadow 

any moment is aubade to spill light into 

my room; I thrive in beauty of that terror. 


1 Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations 

2 Borges, The Golem 

3 Stevens, Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction 

TEXT Vol 2 5 No 1 April 2021

General editor: Nigel Krauth.

Creative works editor: Anthony Lawrence