Monday, July 10, 2006

Sunday, November 16, 2003, 10:25 PM

Lying in the crack of a prism
in a solitary tub
with a drop of water stretched
full by our bodies
shadowed by candlelight
tickled by the tiny fingers
of words written for a baby
an eon ago
in a crescent
at a manger
thousands of miles away

Innerly massaged by mice come humanoid
imagined by a woman come empire
on an island that ruled the world
and spawned the dominion of a future Republic

In another crack is a man worshipping
the genius of television writers and ad-men

And in another
under the hot sun
sweat women all in black
over dark brown
kneeling bending hands to earth
kneaded by the palms of a prophet
who died a thousand years
before their latest baby was still-born

Somewhere in this crumbling prism
is a woman glazed and astounded
at the exquisite quality
of deep blue brush-strokes 80 years old

The ceiling stretches above us
and reveals infinity
an eternity before us

As the hunter reveres
the spirit of the hunted
in an apology
for the life he has taken
to sustain his own

All these micron molecules mixing
so when fully perceived
they become a solidified reflector of light
unified in purpose
if not in intricate detail

In awe of the wonder
the vastness and the Greatness
and the humility
of our own tremendous importance


I printed out your poem and during the MLB All Star game I wrote some notes I’d like to share with you.

The poem is distinctly oriented toward a powerful parade of time that marches through it; “eon ago”, “future”, “thousand years”, “latest”, “80 years”, “infinity” and, finally, “eternity”. The time is not (by design I assume) perfectly organized, yet neither would be the light reflected by a “crack[ed]” prism.

There is a very comforting aura of a mythical/spiritual theme throughout the poem. Not a religious comfort, for I am not a religious man, rather, a calming or feeling of tranquility. This comfort is wonderfully juxtaposed with the metaphor of the crack in the prism representing the fragility of life; still born babies and prey taken by predators. Yet, through this fragility, “babies” and future Republics will be “spawned” to carry on.

In Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus the Devil is asked “How comes it then that thou art out of hell?” He replies “Why this is hell, nor am I out of it.” To residents of Hades, hell is where they are, no place is different; not now, or at any time.

With this poems final message, I gauge an inner awareness of the poet that perhaps any purity of a belief is seen to be preferable to impurity of belief. The poet, through the thread of time in the poem, sees that we are the momenti populace, and where we are now, is what it always was; what it will always be. This, poem, in effect, is a perfect response to Marlowe’s Devil: “No, this place is different”.

Part II
Structurally, these items interested me.

Verse 1
“drop of water”, which is also a prism is a nice touch.

Verse 1-2
Nice use of verbal repetition in
“an eon ago”
“in a crescent”
“at a manger” followed by the triplet in Verse 2
“imagined by…”
“on an island …”
“and spawned….

Verse 4
Two nice alliterations here: “kneeling” and “kneaded” and “palms” and “prophet”. Alliterations, in my opinion, are best used sparingly, and these two are just enough. They are well placed in the middle of the poem so they do not distract from the poem, yet still add a lot of interest.

Verse 5
Was the reference to “glazed” referring to glass, like a prism? This is very subtle if so…

Verse 6
A thematic repetition that works very well: stretches, infinity, eternity. Nice use of these three words together.

Without a lot of prodding one could see the “ceiling” above as a metaphor for a heavenly place.

I think this poem is very nice.
Do you know when I first saw this post I thought that it had two post times and one was erroraneous? It was very confusing until I started reading.

(But I am not as familiar with poetry to go into as long an analysis as anonymous, there)
Loving that last verse.
thanks ultra, and thanks for the analysis anon - certainly there seems to be much more there than I realized. I feel a bit like Dylan at a press conference being asked how many folk singers are out there. Except, unlike him, I am not annoyed. It's interesting to hear all the things you saw there, some intentional and some not.

Trev, no sweat, just glad to have you come by.
Since you are quoting people (well, paraphrasing) here is a quote by poet Howard Nemerov who said “You never ask a poet what he means, you tell him!”.

When we, as your readers, read one of your poems, it gives us certain feelings; indeed, it makes us think in a particular manner, or about certain things. Are these the same feelings the poet intended us to feel? Perhaps not, but, to a certain extent does this matter?

Now, to go a step further I propose to you that once you have written your poem, it is a dead piece of work to you. I mean that you had certain feelings, or you had a certain message perhaps that you wanted to write. Once the poem is written, I do not think that you can recapture these exact same emotions. So, what you meant or what you felt, to a certain extent, is a moot point to your reader. At this point is where the feelings of the reader surpass those of the poet. Has the poet been able to transmit any feelings or any emotion to the reader becomes the issue.

Therefore, we do not need to ask you what you meant in your poem. Of course, it is of great interest to actually know the thoughts of the poet, but, hopefully one has read the work and made their own interpretation of the landscape first.

Part II
In your poem, the line about the ceiling (and the "blue" brush strokes in the preceding line) really made me think something that I had read that I wished to write on; however, at the time of my original post I could not find the source document to explain the issue. Since then, I have borrowed a Torah from a friend of mine, so I will make one further point. Exodus 24.10 reads “…and they saw the God of Israel; under His feet was the likeness of a pavement of sapphire, like the very sky for purity.” Of course, the “sapphire” blue under His feet implies that God was seen from below, through a “blue” floor of His palace. This “blue” floor would have been a blue “ceiling” for those below. Hence my thinking when I read those lines in your poem. I realize this point makes me become somewhat of a pedantic commentator, however, I thought you might enjoy hearing my position on this matter.
i agree with you about the reading of my poem. in fact, i don't have a whole lot of interest in explaining what i write but i do like hearing what people got from it, if anything. but i disagree about it being dead. i understand that one of my favourite poets, l. cohen, rewrote his masterful song, hallelujah, numerous times over a 2-year period. i reserve the right to rewrite, revisit, revive, etc. whatever i write. especially on a blog because much of what i post here is pretty rough.
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