Monday, January 7, 2013

Poems for January 14

New Year Resolve by May Sarton,
Flowers by Linda Pastan,
Above the Lake -- Stephen O’Connor (Verse Daily 1/7/13)
How it is -- Maxine Kumin
Bagel Shop Jazz – Bob Kaufmann

New Year Resolve:
We spent quite a bit of time on the May Sarton poem, admiring how the rhyme did not make a clunky appearance, but rather the sounds and repetitions created a pleasing effect. Unfortunately, I had the poems open with my comments, and didn't save them,
and in an unexpected shutdown of the computer, they were not saved, so I can only go by memory.

This is the perfect situation to allow her message of allowing silence, like a cat, to enter. Clutter enters twice in the first stanza, with an overtone of the “Walrus and the Carpenter’s “the time has come, to speak of many things”. Clutter clutters as noun and verb whereas, by the last stanza, “clutter” is shoved aside. Thus, the “firming of resolve” comes after the speaker considers the inner peace found in silence that allows clarity. Inner and outer world combine ending with a slant reference to the 23rd psalm.
We discussed at length the line, “all I have ever been/false or true/ will live again in my head” – with multiple takes on how “being” could be as an inside interpretation, as opposed to being run by “monkeymind” and outside clutter we have allowed without mindful attention.

Flowers is a sensuous run of couplets filled with colors and luscious sounds, names of flowers like “clivia” and a perfect touch of unusual adjectives – the “odd magenta”, “secular lilies” (without any mention of sacred), "notched" tulips. "The odd strangeness of flowers" in the chill of winter does indeed make one ask, “Is it real” -- and think about how juxtaposition changes our view of everything.

Above the Lake is a fine puzzle poem, filled with imbedded meanings, to the point that Sandra had the idea of substituting all the "this means that" to reduce the poem to this idea:
In this season, the snow, (woods, sky, mute roar)
is composed of abstraction (brook as diagonal gash, trees as lines, )
which is meaning (longing, loneliness accreting as quiet on quiet, white on bluish white)

Even if you don't read the poem this way, the way it is constructed, allows snow, abstraction and meaning to "accrete" and end on "white" (which is the color of blank).

We had a romp with that one -- and only just enough time to read the Maxine Kumin whose elegy for Anne Sexton is one of the most brilliant poems I know.


No comments: