Herbert and Gilbert (to my knowledge neither made the acquaintance of the other) both wrote poems with such sweeping intensity, flashes of insight from the present; glimpses of longing toward the past, much like impressionists captured evanescent moments with their brushes. A poem from their hands can send me scrambling into the hills of a Roman countryside or skimming in a vessel on the Aegean Sea. Reminds me of Robert Pirsig's comment about the ancient Greek's view of time: 'They saw the future as something that came upon them from behind their backs with the past receding away before their eyes.' The sense is instantaneous, like a polaroid or street photography, the picture imbued with tones from a lost time. Their poems are haunted by lambent lyrics amid contemporary impressions and historical views. A moment from one of Gilbert's snapshots of the arches in Perugia (from the poem 'For Example' -poignant title-):
... while thousands of swifts turned
in the structures of sun with a sound like glass.
... according to whether bells preempted the dark
or rain ordered the earth …