Friday, October 4, 2013

poems for lunch! Rundel October 3

Hurray for poetry as part of lunch! Yesterday was the first of 6 sessions offering "food for thought" in form of sharing the reading of poems.

Some Like Poetry: Wislawa Szymborska
A Monday in May: Ted Kooser
A Grandfather: Marie Thurmer (selected by Ted Kooser)
Baby Listening: Billy Collins
Happiness: Jane Kenyon

The wit of arranging a poem by repeating the title, a word at a time, on the first line reminds me that form comes in many guises. Some / like / poetry -- can be said in many ways -- suspending and threading quite different meanings. Some... like poetry.
"Some-- /thus not all.
Like / (as a verb, with a list of likes.)
Poetry/ followed by a question about what it is.

It amazes me that 7 people can discuss 3 stanzas and pick up on so many dimensions that lie in wait for the reader.
Whether it is the vernacular response to the fact of many "shaky answers" about what poetry is... the small proportion of people who like it; the other things one likes (which includes the sense of control, of having an upper hand, as well as the tenderness of stroking a dog) the "it" onto which we hold, even if we don't know...
"like to a sustaining railing."

Part of the fun is to read a short poem in many different ways. Reading the Kooser poem as three sentences,
feels differently in the mouth and mind than read line by line. Two parts, like a contrasting weather report...
the breakdown of houses, and what lies under "leaf, cobweb, feather"... the note of nostalgia with the sentimental maple... the threading of bright and somber sounds (peak/leaf/each/weep)and (our/shower/hours).

We all enjoyed the poem selected by Kooser, but noted that the "we" might be an archetype for human beings , not just one caregiver. O like "om" universal ocean, consciousness, or dying breath. the plural meaning of "response we wanted" the almost mistake of understanding the O, where both the one slipping away and the one remaining might remember each other, both say goodbye.

We chuckled at the wit of Collins -- the surreal ideas -- although Mike mentioned British vernacular -- which adds to the humor. If we called the service "baby monitor" it would lose out on some of the absurd. We all agreed that the ending had an unexpected darkness -- bathed in ambiguity.

We ended on Kenyon's poem, where the first 3 stanzas describe the haphazard nature of happiness. The final stanza feels like anything but circumstances that would allow happiness-- the indent moving from humans to inanimate infused with a sense of death, as if to echo the "unmerciful/hours of your despaire.".

What a joy to spend an hour with delightful people and give poems a chance to do their work as both prompts for the shapes of the sounds and sense.

the boulder, shade of pine barrens, sea, wineglass -- what we might associate

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