Friday, September 22, 2017

O Pen -- September 21 / Rundel Oasis September 22

First two poems had been scheduled for September 6, but due to lack of time, not discussed...
    Sabbaths 1999, VII by Wendell Berry
Song by T.S. Eliot

To Monday   by W.S. Merwin

The Shoes of Teenage Boys by Tim Nolan
Circus City  by Carol Frost

Another Thing I'd Rather Not Know About Myself   by Elly Bookman
Savages by by Dorianne Laux

Sent poem with this:

Why Some People Do Not Read Poetry

Because they already know that it means
stopping and without stopping they know that
beyond stopping it will mean listening
listening without hearing and maybe
then hearing without hearing and what would
they hear then what good would it be to them
like some small animal crossing the road
suddenly there but not seeming to move
at night and they are late and may be on
the wrong road over the mountain with all
the others asleep and not hitting it
that time as though forgetting it again

I love the last stanza  from "The Low Road" by Marge Piercy...
"It goes on one at a time,
it starts when you care
to act, it starts when you do
it again after they said no,
it starts when you say We
and know who you mean, and each
day you mean one more.

I feel about both the Pittsford and the Rundel group this way.  We show up each week, share,
pay attention, pause, reflect, listen.

The Wendell Berry is a beautiful, reverent poem, replete with repetitions, a lovely flow of sibilance.
The thesis is clear:  how a small thing can be pleasing, resumed in the final word of the poem,
"pleased" -- where Maker is both an implied God, but also, the echo of "maker" the name of a poet.  
The journey of the leaf... the yellow leaf, even as it comes to its end... the action of that journey,
the final rest... yes, pleasing...  And what a lovely meditation to have.  

Our language depends on placement -- so the pleasing quality of repetitions, "almost" as end word,
pausing before "natural"  then repeated as first word followed without break to eternal,
is one of those pleasing craft elements!  The same happens with the placement of "not quite"
and always.  

As gentleman farmer/poet, Berry  captures the 21st century version of  divinity vs. science; 
the wholeness of holiness carried to a  pleasing, timeless dimension.

The TS Eliot poem is one of his earlier works -- very much a tribute to the tradition of other poets such as Keats (eglantine) and Shakespeare (gather ye rosebuds...) to remind us to seize the day! 
Carpe Diem in iambic rhymed verse.

The Merwin poem is delightful, as the you can be "Monday" and the poem, an ode to its
ability to be both a universal agreed-upon time-marker, with the capacity to be unique...
but also, the unrepeatable "you" of a person.  Both groups remembered the Mamas and the Papas and "Monday, Monday"... and thought further on what we ascribe to Monday to which Monday would be
completely indifferent.   as though" is repeated...  3 times  in a row
beginning again as though nothing had / reallyhappened.../
as though beginning /went on and on/
as though it were everything/
until it had begun.  

and returns towards the end...
as though you were the same
or almost...

The play between, "tomorrow is a new beginning" and "nothing changes" -- the ouroboros -- where the snake eating its tail makes a complete circle between devouring/regenerating, but can be separated... we have a power to divide time... start over... yet are caught up in that cycle...
the tentative quality of "almost" -- the same... is important.  No two moments are alike--
no two people... and yet...

The Simic poem reminded people of fairy tales -- perhaps Mother Goose riding her broomstick--
the pleasing rhyme of "broom" with "room in Hotel Eternity"... the immensity of the stars in the universe... and those dark corners where there are "tasty little zeroes/in the peanut dish".
A more cynical version of time perhaps.  The address of Cynthia perhaps is to call on an old trope,
the Feminine, referring to Artemis, goddess of the moon, according to legend, both on Mount Cynthus. 
I love the idea of time stopping in Timeless!

We looked at Circus City -- a most disturbing poem... not quite sure if all the pieces worked.
With time, they do, and the Rundel group picked up on the fact that a Circus travels -- but a City doesn't.  The metaphor of a circus moving, but not safe, not something immobile you can lock...
We all enjoyed that the parrot was the one delivering the message of "what life is like" --
and the contrast of the horror with "every day."
Question:. where is the poet going with this?. The poet is going with what the parrot is saying… horrible things that humans do … the irony of a destroyed circus ("All this will never be again")
and knowing destruction will happen again... evil deeds will occur again...
Marcie was reminded Julius Caesar: " cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war. A phrase spoken by Mark Antony in Act 3, Sc. 1 .

The Elly Bookman title is fabulous!  Recognizing ourselves, defining ourselves by who we AREN'T, wishing and denying and hoping we can change so we won't be...
in this case... a good soldier, and the killing that goes along with the job; the following of orders;  how "willing" rhymes with "killing"... 
trying to diminish the importance of our imperfections...  all this juxtaposed with a couple,
making a menu as if settling a divorce.  The repeating phrase -- "I'm OK with that" -- 
and he, not believing she is... and the poet also pretending she'd be OK with being a soldier... but one senses, not reconciled with this part of her she doesn't like...
Comments included remarking "jambalaya" on the menu -- like a horrible jumble.. "; the
staccato rhythm – and stream of consciousness…

Savages was hands-down the favorite.  
The epigram comes from a comment (in prose) Adrienne Rich makes, talking about why poetry books are mixed in with other books…. why is poetry treated this way…)
Why is poetry treated this way?  
We went full circle... 
Why some people hunger for poetry -- why some won't touch it with a ten-foot pole.