Thursday, November 29, 2012

poems for November 26

The eyeless gene in Drosophila melanogaster – by Robert Pesach
Thanksgiving Thanks – 2009 (Robert Pesach)
Ode to the Vinyl Record by Thomas R. Smith
Advice to my self – Louise Erdrich
Yes - by Aaron Fagan
Around Us by Marvin Bell
Still by A.R. Ammons

Thank you all for the wonderful discussion! I love that we have some detail oriented folks, so now we can refer to the common fruitfly as the black-gut "friend of dew"! How special to be able to talk about what scares us, what makes an impact on us, how we use mirrors of words to see what is significant to us,
What leads us humbly to say "yes" to magnificence we might have missed.

Pesach's poem brings up GMOs, a way to look at the smallest thing and think that could be us... we’re unstable... liable to be experimented with ...
I love how a science poem can lead to a new epithet "black-gut fruitfly Friday..."
a comment about Eisenhower's presidency where he was determined not to let people know what he was thinking, a fresh look at "eye/I" where "it is easier to see in the dark and the dust -- I is difficult/
to pin down.

The Thanksgiving Thanks also turns a scientific eye past artificial intelligence and black holes to the balance of what we think we know, and the power of uncertainty to allow us to embrace immensity without knowing.
"This Knowledge that dots the darkness with Light.
This Ignorance that preserves the Wonder."

Thomas Smith's poem brought up many memories of vinyl records, the way the scra-ritch of the needle against the label at the end is used in films to create a sense of ending that doesn't end. The language captures the sounds of hearing music in this "old-fashioned" way --
"Not only the music, but
the whirlpool shimmering on the turntable
funneling blackly down into the ocean
of the ear—even the background
pops and hisses a worn record
wraps the music in, creaturely
imperfections so hospitable to our own.

and provides the image of the perfect fit of a vinyl record as cloak of flaws --
a crackling unclarity (note the sounds! So much better than the heavier syllabic "lack of clarity" -- with the associations of "un" -- as if undoing the actual playing by translating real sound to a recording played back on a vinyl disk.

Louise Erdrich's poem captures the frenzy we can enter with battling clutter.
Her humorous "Advice to myself" provides a model for all of us to create a list of what we do, and perhaps are better off not doing.
"...decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don't even think of cleaning out."

Sounds so simple, and yet... and yet... some examples of avoiding inventory of the heart (just what would we find?): the way Farmhouses own the farmers... possessions possess us... how we buy/consume even if we don't need something, including eating when we're not hungry, and the fallacies around the "purpose" of stuff,

We noted line breaks, a rhythm of prayer and the density of the summary of stuff.

We closed with "Yes" -- having started the month of November with "No" --
and a discussion about "special" linked by AR Ammons' poem, "Still." Significance is how we classify what matters to us, and can lead us to appreciate magnificence which lies in all things. The dualism of "being unique" but not unique creates unresolvable tension worthy of reflection.
We did mention the easy way we praise in current society, as hypocritical as saying
"Bless your heart"... before you say anything negative...

So much more discussion revolved around these poems.
In this season of thanksgiving, I remain grateful for such a gathering of bright and thoughtful people, responding to the power of poems.

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