Tuesday, January 15, 2013

poems for February 4

Poems for February 4

Somewhere to Paris – by Richard Blanco
Dark Charms by Dorianne Laux
Live Light by James Grinwis
from Timbered Choir -- Wendell Berry
Letter to a Lost Friend by Barbara Hamby
quotes of poetry by an art exhibit, Williams Gallery, UU Church, S. Winton Rd.

The first three poems used a single block approach, the Berry gathered into five lines stanzas, and the Hamby had a long line, followed by an indented, shorter line.

How do we respond to form? to title? to "made-up" words as we respond to surface meaning?
I called attention to the multiple layers in the etymology of "Charms" , the ambiguous announcement of "Live Light" -- is it adjective, or verb? descriptor or command? As we read the poems, the repetitions, the play of dream to reality, use of common detail to something we can only hint out as we ponder how important anything is, what the "truth" of anything is.

We admired Richard Blanco's skill, both as inaugural poet, but also the way he "train stitched" the space between "there" and "here", the dreamed and dreaming, until the reader too is swept up in the scrolling wave, heartbeat, breath, and through enjambement, "nothing" defies touch, and can be read two ways
as "keeping nothing with nothing" /to deny the dark. How to you understand this accumulation? The epigram from Pascal -- where there is no misery if you keep in the quiet of your room... not defined by anything outside. The sole cause of a man's unhappiness
is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room.
--Pascal, Pensées

A beautiful meditation. What makes it convincing is the final sentence and, like the moon video Maura suggested we spend 4 minutes watching,we allow ourselves to BE the solitude
... never more beautiful, the arc of space
I travel through for a few hours, touching
nothing and keeping nothing, with nothing
to deny the night, the dark pines pointing
to the stars, this life, always moving and still.

Somewhere to... could be Paris, or dreamland, or wherever you have been, but are no longer. Which threaded nicely to Dorianne Laux's poem, embracing the "dark", like an incantation, a magic spell. I would say by consensus the favorite line was "bag like a lung filled with shadow and song." which describes "it" -- what is dragged in the past, something in us that longs to be named, something and the final line: "dreams of running, the keys to lost names." Again, the line breaks are such that "explaining this" cannot be done -- as the words don't spell anything out explicitly and the opening line "Eventually the future shows up everywhere" bears re-reading. What is true? What is important?

I loved the language play of the Grinwis, "a big question pops out of the frost cabbages" and his questioning starts to revolve (unlike the stonewheel, unable to rotate any direction) "Everyone is waiting/
for something. Why won’t it come?
Indeed "time strikes out at night like a loose bandoleer" --

Wendell Berry's soothing words take us to trees, tasks laid aside, to what is afraid of us, what we fear... finally the chance to listen to our own song.

The Hamby addresses aging, but also that yearning for a word that would help us pin down what can't be said... John brought up the story of Gertrude Stein chiding Picasso for his portrait of her: Stein – but I don’t look like this. Picasso: You will. Marcie brought in the quote:
People die. Life goes on. We are all people just walking each other home.

title – what it isn’t said. What friend? how lost? what is the relationship of the us. But poems aren't about facts pinned down -- but a a place we enter a deeper consciousness, recognize a feeling we might have been too busy to notice.

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