Thursday, February 13, 2014

Poems for February 6

Valentine for Ernst Mann by Naomi Shihab Nye
Love after Love -- Derek Walcott
Love Poem According to Quantum Theory by Richard Blanco
Writing about Love – by Richard Wakefield
The Passionate Freudian to His Love – by Dorothy Parker
The Passionate Shepherd to His Love -- by Christopher Marlowe

The title of the first poem is perhaps part pun, referring to the man who gave his wife two skunks for a valentine and was serious. What makes beauty? Just because "the world" passes judgment, does not make something ugly. I love that a Valentine is given to this man who has the courage to reinvent himself
and that this valentine is for poets who have the courage to reinvent whatever it is that life gives us.

The poem calls into question what a valentine seems to be, or could be, a generous sharing, not based on what we desire so much, as a chance to express what we might say in a valentine we might not say aloud.

Love after love: This poem also starts out with authority, to speak of deep levels beyond what we see mirrored (of ourselves) in others. The feeling tone is one both of yearning for a self that has loved you, and that of a sermon which tells you how to peel away the unnecessary so you can indeed feast on your life.

I love poems that keep growing after several readings -- the Blanco and Wakefield play with idea and form that suggest novel ways to "mine" love. The last two poems are more exercises in cleverness, or making fun of traditions. Is it necessary to understand quantum theory, announced in Blanco's title, where four of the seven stanzas contain "according to theory there is another"? As this "other" morphs,from an abstract reality to the one who writes "forever" each time the word "never" is written-- a hope that someone in this universe will continue to write to capture the paradox where "embraced/unembraced" yin/yang themselves into words so hard to capture.
Wakefield likewise, visually presents us with a moving river, where even if the spine of love and referred "love" seems to be the same, the experience is like stepping into the current, where what was once, even if the same place, can only echo some hidden harmony.

I love that poems can provide a counterpart to Hallmarked Happiness for wishful greetings for Valentine's Day...

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