Monday, February 23, 2015

"Oasis" February 19

Lines for Winter by Mark Strand
The Responsibility by Peter Appleton
I know a man by Robert Creeley
Scotch Tape World by Tom C. Hunley

Today as I write up the discussion, it is snowing again, and I love the idea of "telling myself" the things Strand reminds us to tell ourselves. We will go on, no matter where we will find ourselves, and tell yourself which you know is nothing "but the tune your bones play"
and in the final moment to tell yourself that you love what you are.

What does "loving what you are" look like to you? Do you too wonder what it is that keeps you from loving what you are -- not the "who" you are -- but the bones of it, the how of your tune.

Before reading aloud this poem I had stumbled on a poet's checklist about a good poem:
does it use imagination in a way that is honest with speaking to oneself, inspiring you as you write. I would think as reader, we look at the same: does the poet's voicing engage us, inspire us as we thread through the poem?
I enjoy Strand's trinity of "Tell yourself, each one allowed one line for the three syllables. The first opens the poem, the second after "Tonight as it gets cold" which gives us time and season and the third on the fourth line after "And if it happens that you cannot"
but it's not about not being able to "tell yourself" -- that is so strong, that even if it is your final word, you can end hearing your own voice say "you love what you are".

I find this an incredibly reassuring and restorative poem.

The next poem uses the accumulative effect some children's rhymes enjoy, with an agreeable rhyme and repeat taking us from THE Responsibility to being the one responsible "behind it all". A marvelous and sly way to reconsider our actions, and see ourselves in the mirror behind others. This is a very different man than Creeley's with the broken end-lines and a sense of disconnection between a friend and a man called John, which is not his name.
I loved that in reading it, the big car turned into a cigar!

Scotch Tape world pieces us back with Scotch, references to a Kenneth Patchen poem
and Paul Valery -- the first addressing a sense of road block
("The animal/I wanted couldn't get into the world" and the second framing
other lines penned, by Valery's words, "by someone/other than the poet to someone other than/
the reader.) My question to myself was why these references, other than perhaps their brush with the surreal/absurd.
We discussed moods -- how certain poems are more enjoyable depending on how we feel -- for instance, if you are in a funky mood this poem could be fun to play with. The idea of sunlight and mountain both shattering as an ending, go back to the title, where the imagination can contemplate how to piece it all together.

The final poem looks at Pinocchio-- his "Elegy for the Unreal" -- as a slant "if only I hadn't wished for..." with "the grass is greener on the other side. We discussed the child-like anger in the middle of the poem, "Listen up old man"--the way kids want and don't want control.
My last question to the group was whether the poem's ending left you satisfied. How does the image of the spider/luna moth, springing from Gepetto's cobwebbed (abandoned) workshop work for you?
Image of the Luna Moth as the fairy... the dinner too out of reach to be real?
Back to the title... the story, elegy, and our own stories and sense of regret, wishes, thwarted plans and redemption...

A new person, Greg, shared one of his original poems, "Touch".


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