Friday, April 28, 2017

poems for April 26-27

sent in the email:
The Bonnefoy attachment; is simply for those who wanted to explore the 4/20 poem more.
Next week’s line-up includes another Bonnefoy “Passerby” poem, in honor of Earth Day, this Sunday.
You might also enjoy this link to more Billy Collins:
5 Animations
Budapest: (included in the line up)
Some Days:
The Country
The Dead

sent to O Pen : ) link to The Prison Cell: brought up after reading “I Belong There”

Two version of Szymborska: A little bit of Soul(trans. by Joanne Trzeciak) vs. A Few Words on the Soul by Wislawa Szymborska translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh
Which title sounds more "colloquial"? Which more literal? Most felt the Trzeciak (where it differed) was more stilted, whereas Baranczak/Cavanagh captured a certain ease which seemed to fit the poem. The jist of the poem is delightful... Ah... Let me share with you a few thoughts about the soul... how we can't always sense it... how it is rather moody... and in the end, (clearer in the Baranczak and Cavanagh translation) it needs us. This brings thought to the deeper reflection of mind/body/spirit.
Most people felt that each translation brought different things to light -- and the temptation is to write a third poem, combining the two! Soul only appears where we are most vulnerable... when we can hold paradox...

Discussion included: Chopin and Polish. We only see a glimpse of the original... language, sound, rhythm... we can’t see... Poetry is what is lost in translation...
In general, the Trzeciak lacked a sense of dialogue between self and soul and also included a separation of "raptures" from fears from childhood -- perhaps not confined just to childhood, but that layer of ourselves left from its experiences. Is there a difference between "wonderment" vs. astonishment? Wording, awkward syntax does creates a difference of understanding.
David brought up St. Paul – spirit and flesh... we can move between these two – here the soul does this...
We concluded that the soul is what makes you, you. Jim brought up the film “Inside Out”... where heart-sets/mind-sets are controlled.

Bonnefoy: l'eloge de l'arbre: (Passerby, look at this big tree): The Bonnefoy poem is next to a mural of a large tree. Again... the French seems straight forward in terms of word-by-word... but when dealing with poetry, which is not word-by-word as in speech,
how does one understand what could be the idiom "avoir de la chance"-- but omitting "de la" as well as the "if"
Philosopher (intimate "you") As-tu chance d'avoir l'arbre...
an implied... "if you are lucky" to have a tree in your street... your thoughts will be less arduous
your eyes more free
your hands more desirous
for less of the night.

The Present – by Billy Collins
Such a delightful reflection on "being in the moment" -- which is gone as soon as you are aware of it...
with the 5 line question with a stanza break
Is that where the wise men want us to live//
Kathy commented that the poems from the latest collection seem more humane... embracing the same nimble sarcasm... and slide into the deeper level of ambuity;
20 definitions of the soul... 20 definitions of being in the present... David cited Frost's Carpe Diem...
And people brought up the quote, "Unexamined life not worth living...", the gift of present; presence of the present vs. hamster-wheeling... and the symbol of the soul as moth; psyche as butterfly. Imperfections allow humor to come in... how to listen to your life tick...

Poem to the First Generation of People to Exist After the Death of the English Language-- Billy Collins
Commentary not just about English Language, but what language through poetry can do... How nothing is here to stay, not even red poppies, immortalized in literature. I'm reminded of Judy Collins' "where have all the flowers gone..." will be forgotten... Topics that came up: Esperanto...
all emoji communications...

Budapest by Billy Collins
the "illustration" of the pen can be imagined without the animation... Lovely illustration of being attentive to the moment... Discussion of Writing on the computer vs. the pen... we think harder in cursive...

The Weight of Oranges by Anne Michaels who wrote Fugitive Pieces. Her other poems are equally difficult...
Who is "you" and "they"? Is the "you" in "I want you to promise" -- the same "you" as "your husband? Is there more than one you?
Why the first line? "My cup’s the same sand colour as bread. "
The Rain the next line is part of the end and important important... but the cup? Or is it just to introduce color?
For instance later, "Remember our walks, horizons like lips
barely red at dawn,
how kind the distance seemed?"
how does that compare with the cup?
The reader has a sense of a poem of longing...or loss. Someone is separated -- but not clear from whom. Is it a widow, a divorcee, or someone put in a mental asylum speaking?

I was reminded of W.S. Merwin's line:
“I have with me/all that I do not know / I have lost none of it.”

Longing...the human condition Eliot described as being able to imagine a fulfillment we can never have.

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