Tuesday, August 19, 2014

August 18

Planting Peas by Linda M. Hasselstrom
No by Mark Doty
The Want of Peace by Wendell Berry
Telephone by Devin Johnston
Finding the Lego by Maryann Corbett
Could Have Danced All Night by Dean Young

What are the sounds, smells, of dark, the sounds of "closed" ? What pushes us to want silence in a rooted underworld? What echoes from a man-made contraption carried to the natural world by a mocking bird, and a piece of lego? How do we sense the wolf tearing our world apart...

In the July/Aug. 2014 issue of American Life in Poetry, there are some fine poems by Lucia Perillo and an interview. She says of MS, whose rules her life, "The trick is to make despair sound interesting... don’t battle MS, relent to its humiliations, which are the same humiliations of most lives, only on an accelerated timetable." Two poems by Dean Young who states, "I believe reality is approximately 65% if."

We examined darkness, roots, the quiet silent work passed on from generation to generation -- the sybil who introduces Eliot's poem "The Wasteland" asking for one thing -- to finally die... the long O sounds of Hasselstrom's poem prompted a discussion of how to pronounce Shakespeare... "ore", hoe', snow, old, furrow -- and one by one would be oown by oown... The great mother, the push and push back of life whether of peas or turtles...
Doty captures the world of the child, and layers in this line, "I think the children smell unopened," both their own "unsmelled" lives, as well as understanding the unopened secret of the turtle.

For Berry's "The Want of Peace", a discussion of the role of empires who must insist on obedience.
"The Telephone" ended up delighting us, the more we uncovered the details, the way, in the game of "telephone" one whispered sentence is carried from person to person, in this case, bird, to bird, from present to past of Indian, French explorer, naming of land, to wind, as the essence of spirit.

Likewise Corbett's poem took us both to the world of the child, remembering the harsh slap of a mother, and the world of the mother, remembering her harsh slap delivered, with a final choice of such memory.
We ended up singing "I Could have danced all night" remembering Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady... Corbett's opening idea, "You find it when you’re tearing up your life,
trying to make some sense of the old messes,"
or Dean Young's,
"The wolf appointed to tear me apart
is sure making slow work of it."

If we narrow the windows to limit dark messiness, the light appears stronger...
Our discussion was enriched by the Spartan story of the boy and the fox: perhaps like the reference in Wendell Berry's poem (We sell the world to buy fire,
our way lighted by burning men,
and that has bent my mind
and made me think of darkness)

Once, a 13 year old Spartan boy stole a fox from a village near his camp. Alas, a trainer found him and asked him what he was doing off campus. The boy had seen the trainer and had hidden the fox beneath his cloth. As the boy said nothing, the trainer insisted. The fox, still alive, beneath the boy's cloth, started scratching him, in order to escape. While doing that, the boy continued to deny the stealing until the wounds suffered by the fox killed him.

The apogee of one’s training was to comprehend the laws and to be a vital member of the Apella, the Spartans citizens body.

Young's poem has the very Buddhist idea of embracing suffering -- here, poor feeble wolf, unable to use your fangs, bite...

And on it goes... we hang on to life, for we are not the sybil and when our hearts skip a beat... we are both closer to death, but feel so alive.

I Could have danced all night
And still have begged for more

I could have spread my wings
And done a thousand things
I've never done before

I'll never know what made it so exciting
Why all at once my heart took flight
I only know when (he) began to dance with me
I could have danced all night

/what keeps our little engines going? desire, desire, desire, says Kunitz.

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