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Saturday, May 19, 2018

May 16-17

One Heart - by Li-Young Lee
From Blossomsby Li-Young Lee
Micro-minutes on Your Way to Work by Brenda Hillman
Species Prepare to Exist After Money by Brenda Hillman
Between the Wars by Robert Hass
 The Song of the Banjo by Rudyard Kipling

In Poetry in Person edited by Alexander Neubauer, which Carolyn brought to class,
the interview with Li-Young Lee speaks about interiority-- the pilgrimage in search
of self.  For him, writing is an act of love... so this search for the self has nothing
of Byron's solipsism... His poems are shapes of love.  So it is with the first poem,
which opened and closed the session.  He captures the "one-ness" and connection,
the sounds of ethereal "f"'s (flying, first, freedom, fastening, falling) threading
the sense of release in the "work of wings" as we are born, journey to the end of life.
Note the past tense -- the work was always freedom...
The use of "even" -- it is not just flying that is born of nothing -- everything is --
very much like a Zen Koan.

After ending with long and rather tedious Kipling describing the Boer war, we returned
to Li-Young Lee after speaking of Kipling's contradictory story of sending his legally blind
son to the front... the conflict of patriotism and wanting himself to serve, and projecting that
on his own child, he willingly sacrifices.  How do you resolve that?

Li-Young Lee perhaps allows us to examine the I, which preoccupies him, without using
the pronoun or giving a sense of the poem as a mirror as Hillman does when she reduces herself to
little i (Species prepare to exist after money).  Who is I, in a culture, in the inexactness of the self
we live with yet, also the I which is the universe... where all small i's are extinguished.

From Blossoms, allows us the journey of the peach from blossom to the fruit savored from hand to mouth--as if ripe juice were running through our fingers and chin...  Sensual, the gentle mix of
outward sign (Peaches, painted) and inner "jubilance".  Little English glitch... the brown paper bag
does not come from blossoms... From blossoms comes peaches in a brown paper bag...
the b's and p's (blossom, brown, bag, bought, boy, bend... boughs... bite, full circle to repeat of "blossom" accentuating the miracle of peach (4 times mentioned, and "eaten" in the 4th and final stanza... peach as eternal life in Chinese culture, allowing joy.

We enjoyed the first Brenda Hillman poem... the title is a wonderful hook..  We explored "silver"
and "nothing" the repeat where the two words are separated... the blend of lyric and prosaic...
the sense of moonlight, flash of feather, a distant ice age, and "caged" stars.  In the end, it felt
we were rewarded with increased enjoyment.  Less so for the second poem, which also contained
counting -- seven tiny silences... like the 5 zeroes + one.  There was a cleverness to it but I am
reminded  of Auden's comment:  "Poets who want to change the world tend to be unreadable."

Robert Hass:  His poetry doesn't push beyond the normal breath.  His image of "whole notes of a requiem the massed clouds croaked" could be referring to redwings, cattails, or details of Polish history.  Odd "lifeline" effect of the opening line repeated line 15.  No stanza break, everything smashed together...which gives a feeling of assault.  Night as beggar; two different ways...
first, with silence in tatters; secondly simply dressed as beggar only to end on  children begging chocolate.  Unsettling.

Between wars... 1922 ...

Kipling's style seems incongruent with the horrors of war with "pilly-willy-winky-winky popp"
and tump-tumpa-tumpa-tump... tunka to tinka, plunka with a tara-rara-rara.  We discussed at length the contradictions of his personal life.




Friday, May 11, 2018

May 9-10

Hymn to Timeby Ursula K. Le Guin
Adios by Naomi Shihab Nye
Being but Men by Dylan Thomas
Paradise  by George Franklin
The Two by Philip Levine
Against the Kitchen Wall  by Eleanor Ross Taylor

In a letter to my mother, not sure when, I describe to her the idea of "O Pen" as a chance 
for people to respond to how a poem is "working on them".  For me, what counts is a poem
which pries open an angle that allows a bit of light to glimmer on the complexity of being human.
Today's selection certainly provides food for thought!

Le Guin:  Peaceful tone, and a "sense of complete thoughts expressed without the benefit of grammar" as Jim phrased it.  Strings of words, familiar, like "Let there be" --
and the mind continues... "light" -- but the poem insists that time, not God, is making 
a declaration about the 4th dimension where time, light, energy swirl in being.
Both groups thought of the song, "Turn, turn, turn"-- with a thought that when a poem is set to music, usually, it is the music that takes the upper hand.  A Hymn to time -- a praise song... without
the usual trimmings or need for music... Instead, there is a subtle crafting which develops a sense
of "all-ness" :the four fragments that start with "And" and end with
a period; the repeat of radiance; the rhyme of dance/expanse/chance... the sandwich of slant rhyme of room/home/returning to "womb"... the tiny reality of gnats juxtaposed with radiance...
Le Guin is versed in the Tao, having worked on its translation and here, captures the spirit.

Comments: Round of life… Tale for the time being… Japanese Buddhist Monk… or Heidegger,
Time and Being... 
we're all "timed" beings.. 
role of time.  Story of the trapped miners and only one miner had  a watch and lied about time. 
He knew how long they had, the others didn't, and was the only one who didn't survive.
We don't understand anything until we have distance from it…


Adios:   In English "goodbye" was "God be with you" -- the final farewell... be with God...
The advice, 3rd line: Use it. Learn where it begins,-- the small alphabet : a... of departure.
The opening stanza seems to point to how we communicate... the importance of wishing
each other well... like a blessing... commending, commitment,  benediction.  
Juxtaposed with the sensual, smelliness of decay... the liquid "l" of linger, leaves, smell, mold...
how leaves is both noun and verb.  In a way, a poem of finality... 
Like the sound of earth on a coffin in the final its... followed by silence.

At first I didn't think this was one of her strong poems -- but on spending time with it, 
I admire how she treats difficult subjects lightly…with feeling.
I sense a long voyage -- she  takes us way out w/ goodbye and yet keeps you close.
Each line allows a pause… 

Being but men seems to start with our human-ness, our fears.. The role of "afraid"--
or is it merely descriptive... the w's whisper in a world of wings and cries... wonder watching the stars.  He tells the aim... but that changes nothing.  The opening line repeats as last line. 
Walk into trees, as opposed to climbing them.  Contrast of adults/children, a sort of Wordsworthian celebration of innocence, which allows "ascent" as opposed to walking into obstacles... Role of
"noiseless" and rooks -- careful not to wake up the dark... able to transcend...
We wondered if this were written about the the rumblings of world war 2 ... 
The word "soft" -- for syllables and for ascent... the sibilance repeated in bliss and stars... 

The Franklin was a delightful parody... what do we wish for with "paradise"?  We do not know
the outcome of Mephistopheles...  O Pen diverged into a long discussion about Job... Jung, Noah's Flood and John provided this link to lyrics.
https://www.google.com/search?q=before+the+deluge+lyrics&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-us&client=safari   
Oasis enjoyed the pokes at "perfection" where poets "mumble, make last minute revisions on the marble"  (staircase to heaven?).

The story of "The Two" is masterful in its complexity.  Who are these "two"-- a "he" and a "she"
unsure of what to become... the parallel of Fitzgerald, who started as an Ad man (hence the famous
one-liner "we keep you clean Muscatine"...  Oasis felt it was like a writing exercise... like describing a Hopper painting, making up a solution for. a problem... but addressing the mystery of love.
By the end "Can you hear all I feared and never dared to write" takes on large proportions--
life in America... what work is... what betrayal of the American Dream... 

Eleanor Ross Taylor: for me a poet I didn't know, but happy to have stumbled upon.
We are on the edge of a story -- a sense of being in a secluded prairie with a posse of evil
men about to lay waste to this woman's home... and yet, she is the one who accuses herself
of being the one who "laid waste".  The adjectives bankrupted, malpractice... give the sense
of abortion... the "gifted wheat" -- money?  Sacred pear-- "life".
A satisfying poem, even though left with unresolved mystery.  

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

my FIFTH book-- Launch May 5



**
So, the last  entry on this blog, I was too tired to be able to articulate much of anything...
My fatigue by last night was so great, I couldn't even stay awake for the
 delightful presentation of pictures, bringing humor to the "stuff of everyday life"--
I do recall the selfies... someone hailing a cab, but all you see are the arms doing an
"I'm a little teapot dance".

Perhaps the exhaustion aside from little sleep and too many projects, is also the
looming question of why I write the blog... no one reads it, as far as I know... rather
like me writing morning pages of words... they are little bridges to thoughts... most
of which are temporary scaffolds in which to imagine beautiful buildings...

We returned from Europe, family, friends and Rennes (sister city) connections...
followed by my presentation at the NYSAFLT conference on livening up the French class with poetry...  and Michael Czarnecki's new book, and my query to him about publishing my
new and revised.  The answer was yes -- and let's do it for poetry month -- so the ms went
to him March 25.  Since then:
April 14: Pittsford Library Talk : When Words Come Alive
April 15: Nice Boots Collaboration
April 18: The Fun of Nuts & Bolts & Possibilities (Rundel)
April 23: MCC French Club -- poetry
April 26: Ad Hoc at W&B
April 28: Poetry, Potluck

Hosting of Chinese Film Maker, Ermao Zhong April 25-29
2 sessions prepared for W&B, but cancelled April 21, 28
ready for May:
May 5:  BOOK LAUNCH!!!
May 9 : Garden Club tour of the MAG
Teacher In-Service on using Centennial Park and Poets Walk

Here is the flyer the library put together for me.  Picture is from 2010 I believe...
same picture as the one used by Susan Trien in her write up about O Pen...




I have been up sometimes before 4 am, thinking poetry... looking at the voices in my head
who nag me about why I think I should even consider putting a book together.
I try to treat them with kindness.  They come from feelings I gathered along the way
that I didn't matter, was not important, forgetting that indeed, although there was a time
when my mother couldn't be herself, much less a mother, there was also a time she gave
me the gifts I enjoy so much:  enthusiasm and energy to connect people (her teaching
of Sunday school; my writing of poems for Church holy days when a choir member 2 years ago)
my joy of teaching French, art and poetry appreciation; her joy of teaching tennis, and being a counselor at Aloha Hive with nature puzzles...

So many parallels... and finally, I can separate from her -- not be afraid that her struggle indicates
my struggle -- that I will have failed for 20 years not to be the mother my children deserved...
that the next step is to be institutionalized for another 25 years in a locked ward.  How she
maintained her dignity and was able to survive is an inspiring story.

The poems in Twilight Venus do not dwell on her, on my working out of complex relationships,
but reflect the work of a poet eager to mediate the ability to see the sacred in the natural world
with the ability to view injustice, pain and sorrow with greater compassion.

I learn from the generosity of the people who wrote blurbs-- as I steal from MJ above and from
Bart: Oh yes, I'm mercurial, but also capable of writing an ode to a broom, "making room to mirror
time's sweep... in time with each heartbeat, making room for the quiet...

and from Tony: resplendent, elegant surfaces... to encircle life's bone-stark realities, says Tony...
all of us wanting-- our exquisite longings that lead us further than we thought we had a right to go.

and Sylvie:  colors, rhythms, images gathered through my love of music, visual arts, personal life journey.

I push my humble rock of poetry up the slopes...  do not childe myself for having chosen this route,
but feel like a seven year old... curious and eager to see where I am going next.

**
People who know me like my book.  People who don't know me well don't ask about it...
What to make of that?


Poems for May 2-3


The Writer byRichard Wilbur, 1921 - 2017
 The Habits of Lightby Anna Leahy
My God, It’s Full of Starsby Tracy K. Smith
Disobedience- AA Milne
pi by Wisława Szymborska
The Republic of Poetry by Martin Espada

The opening poem  develops both an insight into the writing process as well as a tender father-daughter sentiment many of us as parents have felt, observing our children... knowing they are the ones who need to navigate their boat;  What do we wish for them?  Wilbur, with  his balance of elegant craft and authentic emotion, wishes her "lucky passage" -- as he develops the metaphor of the ship, on a journey.  He, the writer, knows the path of a writer, and brings up the story of a trapped  starling-- akin to what it is a writer wants to free into writing, put into the world.  Watching her, this wish for her "lucky passage" is also a celebration of writing as a process... Wishing this "harder" is not the same of wishing this "even more" -- but has an idiomatic ring along with the sense of "hard" -- which is the nature of finding the road, surviving the voyage...  The door that separates the Father from the daughter is akin to the starling trying to to find an open window...
There is so much to admire about this poem-- how he pauses, then the daughter pauses, the parallel
of the seasoned writer with one just starting out... the sounds, and the lovely build-up of rhythms:
4 adjectives in a row... 3 one-syllable ones with the 4th one, with 4 syllables separated by line break:
We watched the sleek, wild, dark       
And iridescent creature      
-- Interesting that a starling, whose feathers are indeed iridescent, is not native to America... but introduced because of the remarkable plumage, and now, like violets in a garden, is overpopulated.

The next two poems were taken from "Brain Pickings" -- a weekly, generous helping of ideas-- see: 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Popova

Habits of Light... and some thought of nuns and their black and white uniform... others shared information about the woman astronomer...  Henrietta Leavitt, astronomer : how she measured the distance from Earth to stars; discovered 2400 of them, yet was not recognized.

Who are we?  What does it matter that we are recognized or not? Her poem is dense and addresses
relationship -- the old school relevance of poet and astronomer who consider vastness, and try to
pin it down. Back to Nemerov and "The Makers": masters of interval relationship and scale.There is a  completeness… yet one can't isolate details. 

Here, an obscure astromer not noticed until finally through time  her discoveries seem to matter.
A sort of  stealth poem about the physics of life.  how things are not noticed… 

We loved the Tracey K. Smith poem, learning about her father, and discussed the glitches and mistakes of the hubble... the oversights and overconfidence, the hubris of launching it without
testing... the cost of the repair.  Smith gives us a portrait of her father... and also a portrait of the times...The last line points to our need to understand what comprehension is all about...

So brutal and alive it seemed to comprehend us back.   

The A.A. Milne was a breath of levity... with its underpinnings of menace.  Fun to read and hear.

Pi... another brilliant poem by Szymborska-- her imagination is so great -- weaving numbers
with  story... as one person put it, like reading a double helix...

The "plot line" becomes clear when you  skip the numbers--
finally what is interrupted or connected as these two languages, one of decimal system and the other for calculating spatial geometries... Can they communicate?  be translated? 
… 
We read the Republic of Poetry -- apparently not quite the right version.  Jan will bring it next session.

                                                   


     



Thursday, May 3, 2018

April 25-6

Sarajevo by Howard Nemerov
Luck in Sarajevo by Izet Saajlić translated by Charles Simic
Being of Three Minds by Howard Nemerov
The Makers by Howard Nemerov
On the Extraordinary Beauty of the Ordinary -- Nano poems by Sabina Messeg
Eclipse by MJ Iuppa
146 (All overgrown by cunning moss) by Emily Dickinson

Judith came up with the idea of Nemerov's poem which is not some variation on a villanelle,
but some called a viator. It consists of any stanzaic form in which the first line of the first stanza is the second line of the second stanza and so on until the poem ends with the line with which it began. The term, Viator comes from the Latin for traveller. An example of Skelton's form may be found in his excellent reference book, The Shapes of our Singing, and is entitled Dover Beach Revisited.

Not only are lines repeated but also  end-words, colors -- green, red, gold

The discussion brought up the Austrian and Hapsbug flags, German, English Eagle,  a crowned Lion.
The joy of repeated forms for me lies in the challenge of twisting language...
the constancy of the repeated first line contrasts nicely with the variations of the end words.
The Archduke's death was an accident providing an excuse for a war, wrapped in the lie of
"be home for Christmas" and "the war to end all wars".  Blindness, visions of dragons' teeth
in the field filled with "human filings..."; wheel of chance.

The next poem takes place in 1992.  My notes refer to "spatial planning" -- the second stanza
the irony of air-dropped food which falls on someone's legs. Luck?
Perhaps the next poem helps us understand why we wish for it, count on it, hope for it...
Identity : Difference:
likeness lies.  The authority of logos.
Stanza two brings in the magician... on the way to accessibility (build tower of Babel ) leads
to the unexpected... Money changers and religion...
Little i gave us a lot of fun:  Ego, how it wants to be deified, but back to "difference" --
we are not God, and defy Him, puffing up our names.

The Makers:  Pleasing phrases; metaphors;
relationship:  The makers (poets) are the first to say "above, beneath, beyond....
Ending the poem on "of" on purpose.


Nano poems, like Haiku.  extra spaces...

Eclipse:  metaphor for  extinction of a black person-- what is it to be an "oily smudge" of a man...

Dickinson: Feminist poem -- references to Brontës.

**
I am typing these comments a week after discussion.  Believe me, it was rich and rewarding...
and begs a better explanation.  Read the poems -- imagine at least 3 ways of responding to them.
Then comment on this blog.
I don't have time to do so right now.
   

Monday, April 23, 2018

the rest of the poems for April 18-19

How Forever Works by C.L. O'Dell
 Threadsunsby Paul Celantranslated by Pierre Joris 
On the Beach at Night by Walt Whitman
The Eye by William Heyen

I have never thought about "forever" as an entity that "works", like the Deists thinking of
time as a clock set in motion...  What is "forever" -- how do we use it in language?
The poem starts off with "The soft tick of snow"-- as if snow makes the sound of a second hand,
an active tick of what we consider cold and white...  but it also reminds me of the soft inner ticking
of a lining... a shrouding of sorts.  The poem is in the past tense, except for the final enjambed final
line.  To whom is "love me" addressed?  And how many ways are there to read. "anyway"?
(Love me in any way possible; love me in spite of whatever might have made me unloveable...)
Is the "us" in the 3rd stanza a personal entity, perhaps a couple, a family,  or a country, a  general collectivity?  Not that these questions need suggestions for answer, as the poem hints at much
in an aura of mystery... as if to suggest "running out of time" however it means -- days left to live
as someone with an illness, or days left for survival of our earth, is part of the fact that nothing
is forever.  Not even memory.  To quote Hamlet, "who shall escape weeping".


The next poem comes from    —- from Breathturns ( 1967)published in 1968 and translated here by Pierre Joris in 2005, was the second collection from Paul Celan's late period, when the poet had turned to highly obscure allusions and polysemy.
He plays with compound nouns to invent new ideas-- a single thread + plural suns.  tree-high thought, where high describes both tree and thought; (baum-hofer is used as an adjective in German) and "light tone".  For those knowing German, I show how beautifully the translation works.  
Fadensonnen has an element of "fathoms" the shafts of sun reaching deep into the ocean.

Threadsuns by Paul Celantranslated by Pierre Joris  

Threadsuns
above the grayblack wastes.                    thinks of ocean…
A tree-
high thought
grasps the light-tone: there are
still songs to sing beyond
mankind.
   —- from Breathturns ( 1967)
Fadensonnen
über der grauschwarzen Ödnis.   wasteland… 
Ein baum-
hofer Gedanke
grieft sich den Lichtton: es sind
noch Lieder zu singen jenseits
der Menschen

Comments:  a different kind of Holocaust poem.. one which allows a sense of re-awakening, 
transcending the weight of gray black wasteland through ascending thought, ribbons of light...
beyond the destruction man wields...
One says a translator is one soul stretching his hand out to another soul.  This is a remarkable
collaboration of poet/translator.

 The Whitman:
a note on pronunciation:
Up through the darkness, 
While ravening clouds, the burial clouds, in black masses spreading,
think  ravenous,  pronounced with a short "a", as in starving,
 as well as black-winged;
likewise "lower" from the etymology  "lour"--This verb initially meant “to frown, scowl; to look angry or sullen,” 
From the beach the child holding the hand of her father, 
Those burial-clouds that lower* victorious soon to devour all, 
Watching, silently weeps. 

the inner rhyme: lower/devour... the ou of cloud;  the interruption of the syntax,
"the child watching, silently weeps"... the tone of tenderness as the father chides the child
for considering only the burial of the stars... or considering the burial of the stars, alone,
not knowing that something there is... which reminds us we are not alone... 


The Eye. by William Heyen-- beautiful capture of a moment and a loaded title.
I love how Heyen goes from the physicality of the title (one thinks of an eye, not seeing)
to the metaphor of the gold eye of the sun, which allows us to imagine, understand beyond
perception. But what clinches the poem for me is the desire in the poem--
not desire of the poet for something concerning the poet, but the compassionate empathy
to embrace the "just in case" darkness.
Is it for just one person?  A specific belovèd?  Any reader who comes along?  Regardless,
Heyen gives us a gift of writing down words... you can read "the sun turns on the page",
like turning on a light, allows the page to provide the eager space to receive what the
imagination provides.


   



Thursday, April 19, 2018

Poems for April 18-19 -- Aubade + Elegy : two poems from Boston Review "What Nature"



Aubade by Kaveh Akbar.  (discussed Rundel 4/12; for Pittsford 4/18) 

Elegy beginning in the shade of Aunt Mary's mulberry tree by Camille T. Dungy


For both groups I showed the cover of  Boston Review's publication: "What
                                                                                                                          Nature"
where the title is set in the clouds.  How will you say those two words:  WHAT.
NATURE.  What punctuation might you add to give instructions?

Indeed, all the poems this week relied on the spoken intricacies of pronunciation and timing.

Rundel received the preface to "What Nature"  by email.  It is accessible here: https://store.bostonreview.net/media/1621.pdf

The two poems from it discussed by both groups: Aubade and Elegy beginning in the shade of Aunt Mary's mulberry tree.

Aubade by Kaveh Akbar:  An Aubade, written at dawn... often to capture the feeling of
lovers parting... Is this one conversation of two lovers.  Is it "us", speaking to Earth?  Is the "you" the same throughout the poem?

The opening couplet hints at the subsequent enjambments which heighten a sense of interruption--
as if the lines are being battered, abused, the way we have battered nature... To whom is he speaking?
Is this an overheard conversation?

Pardon my asking, but do you think I could drink           
this and be okay? I am still learning the scents.   (sense)

The tone feels cryptic.  We  enjoyed the homonym of "scents" and "sense"... but much less comfortable
with the gruesome detail of making tea from "anything"  which includes 
...the tongue cut 

from a corpse.  We bodies carry so much
flavor inside ourselves—the unborn

gorge and pulse in their glee. Can I say I like
you best when you share yourself, when you

lend me a comb or toss me your jaw? I trust               
you completely, with your bruised lungs

rattling like stones in a jug. 

I am at risk of quoting the entire poem-- but wanted to show the enjambments and how a phrase
We carry so much continued on the next line, We carry so much flavor inside allows the coexistence
simultaneously of two very different meanings.
One person felt the "lend me a comb, toss me your jaw" came from one of the translations of Cyrano
de Bergerac.  Be that as it may, this not very clear situation feels anything but reassuring... and
"toss me your jaw" takes on a violent physicality as opposed to "lend me your ears; give me your words".

The complexity of being human is "fungal-- with that sense of being part of an intricate part of a complicated, interwoven biosphere.  The thought then leaps onto commentary on the powers of
observation.. our inability to "detect/ danger" in our "handsome/predicament". 
Many thought this resonates with denial of our current political situation...    

predicament: we are born with the ways                       
we will die already built in. Don’t bother...  (with the copperhead/giant black eyeball rolling in the garden)

One suggestion was that the "you" was the poet speaking to himself... " You were supposed to warn me before/ you discovered the ark" -- and the sense of all being in the same boat...

The final stanza could be a reference to how we have  mechanized ourselves-- perhaps also a call to "self-examine."

a tractor trailer with the heart of a living                       
boy. I am doing all of this to myself.

The reference to "fill out pockets with shells" could go in several directions... missile shells ?  the luxury pastime of collecting what is left on the beach, the metaphorical implication of stuffing our pockets
with the outlines of what could have been... ?  How do you hold three such different meanings? 

My favorite comment was that Akbar was doing to the poem, what we human beings are doing to our Earth-- chopping it up as if with no vision to the big picture.  


None of the poems were easy to fathom, dissect and tie up into a neat package nor do I believe, is that the point.  


Both groups delved courageously into  Elegy beginning in the shade of Aunt Mary's mulberry tree by Camille T. Dungy.  Dungy, who will be the judge of the Lucille Clifton Prize offered by Backbone Press. 
“Poetry is a matter of life, not just a matter of language.” -Lucille Clifton 
Here, unlike Akbar layering various meanings onto words, Dungy plays with a confusion of syntax
so that Aunt Mary, her dog,  the other kids who climb the tree, [and the daughter who doesn't]  and the Mulberry Tree itself all could be subjects of what for the sake of simplicity could be called "ascending".    Going up.

Some the words that struck people:  
--The week after she died, it was some relief/to stop pacing circles whose circumferences/                        
measured our grief, (to see the leash where the tree split [implication?])
What sense is there to make of this?
No sense in this either, referring  at the end (after the comparison of the leashed dog, the old woman was tied to life -- and tied, rhymes with died).. once released, becomes like her younger self dancing.
-- contrast in the use of Thanksgiving: full almost to  excess; vs. There was something graceful in that ascension.  "This, too, is a way to speak about thanksgiving./
Her legs, her heart, her vision worked like necessary/
magic."

What do we learn about Aunt Mary? It isn't spelled out, but, if kids come over the climb in her tree,
and many understand the large heart that made the poet feel loved (emphasized by"—some of you
          understand this—feel so deeply loved.") sounds like she was important and loved in her neighborhood.

I love that the elegy begins in the shade of the mulberry tree -- what is outside of Aunt Mary's house,
what is on her property, but shared; this tree that served her dog; allowed itself to be climbed;
and was split.   Perhaps this implies a mirror of Aunt Mary?  
Some wondered if it was Aunt Mary climbing to her death... if it were a story about a lady who  came back in the spirit of her dog.  Was the chaotic telling reflecting a beautifully messed up chaotic life--
or merely choked up emotion trying to find a way to tell a story about her.  Were those hornets 
buzzing… like Emily Dickenson's fly, a small innuendo of impending death?

Regardless, the conclusion of the discussion is that when we do not understand something, we need to think of a different way to approach it.  This poem is rife with invitations to explore.  Lively discussion was an understatement.  Thank you all.