Friday, March 18, 2011

poetry and spirituality 3/17: Hirshfield, Dunn, Addonizio, Supervieille and a Ghazal

What is it that we want a poem to tell us?
How do we receive the message, "I'm OK" -- whether by hearing another's story which validates in some way your own, or being called to reflect on what one "knows" and identifying with another's struggle...

It Was Like This: You Were Happy—Jane Hirshfield
Allegory of the Cave – Stephen Dunn
The Way of the World – Kim Addonizio
Hommage to Life, Jules Supervieille

In the Hirshfield poem, the holding of opposites: hard/soft
dark/light, happy/sad and dispassionate juxtaposition of judgements
creates both ambiguity and mystery… The key of the poem lies in the middle
"Like a lover, your life bends down and kisses your life." which is followed by the transformation of bread, and the fact that one's life is up to you to live -- and like bread, is put together, rises, is baked, eaten, digested, nourishing then discarded, only to have new wheat grown, and start the process again.

The Allegory of the Cave : updated version of Plato’s story with a bit of Dante thrown in.(Dark juxtaposition… of death of a father with a joke, disturbing news felt as fine music... what do we understand ????)
Realm of ideas: source of light. But open to interpretation even the end line "not a chance in heaven"... But do “real religions pray”? Doubt is part of being human -- and religion can be just as devoid of assurance as lack of it.

Both of Addonizio's poems are sarcastic, witty, and dark. Her negative view, which takes cliches, turns them inside out, is true, but there is no redemption in sight.

He who has the Gold Rules.
Do away with others as they would do away with you.

The soothing delight of Supervieille, holds appreciation, acceptance, patience -- even of the least beautiful... "And to have come upon the soul
With tiny strokes of the oars" does not mean we have avoided the black blood in our veins.

The final poem addresses the soul bag in musical terms, each couplet a pearl -- from the outer-space meteor feel, like a rushed life to the wanting to know -- suspended in emptiness.

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