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The Poets

September 28, 2010

Chicken Poetry School


Seriously though ... it's almost as if it were through 'poetic-rule' that I died to 'poetic-rule' in order that I might live in poetry.


For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
-Galatians 2:19


Truth be told, I definitely had this verse in mind to confirm what I’ve always (silently) believed- that, after having best understood the rules and patterns of this or that given discipline, freedom resides in our ability to utilize its circumvention fluently and creatively.

I learned how a rook moves; how a knight jumps; how a bishop slices; I learned how the game of chess functions beneath exceedingly specific parameters … but it was the highly fluid aspect of creativity that taught me how to skewer an opponent’s piece!

In other words, after having first learned the rules, I learned how to die to them in order to achieve freedom's possibility …

Perfect example ... the comments area Of an Uncommon Measure

September 21, 2010

There's ...

I

An angel on my right, my girl
A maple’s airy symphony
The scram’bling of a nervous squirrel
And breezes blushing quietly

II

A solitary Aspen tree
Whose leaves suspect that fall is near
A cloudless sky (a lifted sea)
And semi-silence everywhere

III

The coming end of summer fair
The distant call of lonely crows
The rocking of this metal chair
As stanzas three come to a close

-jwm



Of the Poem:

I wrote this while with my daughter on the afternoon of September 19th, 2010. It was a beautiful, quiet afternoon ...

... I had to capture some of the detail in a poem.

Stanza:
quatrain (3 total)
Meter:
tetrameter
Rhyme Scheme: abab bcbc cdcd (note how the stanzas are interlocked, 'b/b' 'c/c')

September 17, 2010

William Carlos Williams- Quotes


William Carlos Williams

"Poets are damned but they are not blind, they see with the eyes of the angels."

"It is not what you say that matters but the manner in which you say it; there lies the secret of the ages."

"If they give you lined paper, write the other way."

William Carlos Williams*


William Carlos William (1883 -1963)

William Carlos Williams was born in Rutherford, New Jersey, in 1883. He began writing poetry while a student at Horace Mann High School, at which time he made the decision to become both a writer and a doctor. He received his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he met and befriended Ezra Pound. Pound became a great influence in Williams' writing, and in 1913 arranged for the London publication of Williams's second collection, The Tempers. Returning to Rutherford, where he sustained his medical practice throughout his life, Williams began publishing in small magazines and embarked on a prolific career as a poet, novelist, essayist, and playwright. Following Pound, he was one of the principal poets of the Imagist movement, though as time went on, he began to increasingly disagree with the values put forth in the work of Pound and especially Eliot, who he felt were too attached to European culture and traditions. Continuing to experiment with new techniques of meter and lineation, Williams sought to invent an entirely fresh—and singularly American—poetic, whose subject matter was centered on the everyday circumstances of life and the lives of common people. His influence as a poet spread slowly during the twenties and thirties, overshadowed, he felt, by the immense popularity of Eliot's "The Waste Land"; however, his work received increasing attention in the 1950s and 1960s as younger poets, including Allen Ginsberg and the Beats, were impressed by the accessibility of his language and his openness as a mentor. His major works include Kora in Hell (1920), Spring and All (1923), Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems (1962), the five-volume epic Paterson (1963, 1992), and Imaginations (1970). Williams's health began to decline after a heart attack in 1948 and a series of strokes, but he continued writing up until his death in New Jersey in 1963.

*Biography from Poets.org

September 14, 2010

Our Lives are Swiss



It's by virtue of our finitude that we find it difficult to envision things beyond a limited perspective- we have our prejudices, our pre-conceptions, our predilections, and so on.

There are times, however, when these biases give way and a broader perception of things is made manifest- as if we're seeing reality from the perspective of eternity.

These are the visions that the mystic seeks- but not just the mystic. Every human has at some point in their existence experienced that which is transcendental, that overwhelming flood of beauty and truth that everyday existence seems to lack ... and even though they may not be able to articulate that experience, they know with certainty that they've tasted the divine.

Myself? - I'm not unfamiliar with these experiences; I've even tried to articulate a few of them in verse (e.g. A Memory of Delta D.O.C.).

One thing I've noticed is that when these did occur with me they were sudden, unexpected, unrelenting, and usually carried with them an intensity that was so aesthetically pleasing that I almost aways fell into a crippling swoon- no exaggeration here.

There's a poem by Emily Dickinson, Our Lives are Swiss, that expresses beautifully experiences such as these.

In it- and this is by no means the only interpretation one can render- in it the life of the Swiss, surrounded by those towering Alps, signifies our limited state of existence as humans. There are times (odd afternoons) that these limitations give way ('The Alps neglect their Curtains') and we see clearly a broader scope of reality; we 'look further on' and behold that which is transcendental ('the other side').

The point of the poem, or at least one of the points I derive, is that there's a broader reality out there; that we ought, insofar as this is possible, to cast aside our prejudices, pre-conceptions, and predilections, so that we might better broaden our perspective of reality and peer, like the mystic, on life from the perspective of eternity.



Our lives are Swiss --
So still -- so Cool --
Till some odd afternoon
The Alps neglect their Curtains
And we look farther on!

Italy stands the other side!
While like a guard between --
The solemn Alps --
The siren Alps
Forever intervene!




September 07, 2010

With Regards to My August 25th Post


On Wednesday the 25th of August I posted a poem that I promised to elaborate on; a poem that was intentionally structured to be as ambiguous as I could make it. Here’s that poem:

On the Brink

He clamped that heavy weapon tight
And aimed that steel that seemed a ton
And just before a life was done
A humming bird was in his sight

“Draw down son, and be at peace”
It said in syllables divine
“Don’t you know that this is mine”
To which his hand gave quick release



Of the Poem (An Explanation)

As I mentioned when I first posted this, one of the primary things I wanted to do with this poem was to make it as ambiguous as possible.

From one perspective the poem may seem to speak of a suicidally minded person who, consumed perhaps by an indelible depression, wants to end his life (hence the weapon, the gun). Fortunately, something intervenes and thwarts this attempt, and he drops the weapon … or so one would think.

It seems obvious enough, right: he grabs a weapon (line 1) and aims it, perhaps at his head (line 2), and just before he pulls the trigger (line 3) something intervenes (lines 4 through 7) and causes him to drop (release, line 8) the gun.

But there’s too many assumptions being made to render this conclusion. First of all it says he “aimed that steel that seemed a ton” … nothing suggests that he aimed it at himself. Rather than speaking of a suicidally minded person, perhaps it speaks of one plotting the death of another? So the former conclusion would just have to be altered so that it’s no longer dealing with one wishing to end his life, but rather the life of another (but this, as was said, is merely a possible interpretation, an assumption).

We’ll come back to the representation of the humming bird in just a moment; but before we do, let’s take a brief look at the concluding line of the poem.

Assuming that there was an intervening element that hoped to prevent the discharge of that weapon, it’s not quite clear whether the man fired it off or tossed it away, for it is only said that, in response to the intervening factor, that “his hand gave quick release.” One assumes he discards the weapon, but this can easily be interpreted as his releasing a bullet from the chamber (perhaps in defiance of the intervening voice).

As was said above, all this ambiguity was intentional. It was hard to figure out how to approach it, but I think I achieved it, for (as I see it) there are at minimal four possible interpretations:

1: A man picks up a weapon intending to end his life, but something intervenes and causes him to drop the weapon.

2: A man picks up a weapon intending to end someone’s life, but something intervenes and causes him to drop the weapon.

3: A man picks up a weapon intending to end his life, but something intervenes and, despite that intervention, he obstinately discharges the weapon.

4: A man picks up a weapon intending to end someone’s life, but something intervenes and, despite that intervention, he obstinately discharges the weapon.

There were a few excellent interpretations that were left in the comments area of that post. The comment left by Obiterspeak, for example, was very similar to the scenario explained in the first interpretation above, and the one that more readily pops into my mind when I read it.

devangini's “humble attempt” at an interpretation was in my view utterly incredible, a view shared by my neighbor: that is, that the poem spoke of a hunter ravaging nature with his weapons of destruction until nature, in the form of a hummingbird, rebukes his activities. Awesome stuff.

Da other Part of 'Zo gave two great perspectives. The one, again like Obiterspeak’s rendering, is very similar to the example explained in the first interpretation above. The other, well, is really deep; check it out:

This piece could symbolize the end of a certain characteristic or way of life a person has been living. They are contemplating if they want to continue in that current lifestyle and refer to their religious/spiritual beliefs or affliations for guidance. In the end, they choose to give it up.

Tell me that’s not cool.

Inasmuch as the symbol of the hummingbird is concerned, well, it’s less than ambiguous. As mentioned above, it’s obvious that it’s an intervening aspect. The truth is that as I was scripting the poem out the idea of an angelic presence was persistent in my mind. There are some hints to this if you read close; the main ones being lines 5 through 7.

Take line 6 as an example. It says that this hummingbird spoke in syllables divine.

Syllables are an obvious reference to the poem in general, but more specifically it refers to the poem's meter. The entire poem essentially consists of 8 syllables per line- that is, until one reads lines 5 and 7 … those lines have a seven syllable count. Why seven?- because the symbolic representation of the number seven carries with it a sacred connotation. It is the intervening voice of an angel (or the Lord) speaking from an aspect that is heavenly and pure, sacred and holy.

Finally we have the single most symbolic and ambiguous word of the entire poem:

Don’t you know that this is mine

What is the reference here? What is this this? This was intentional, and- hopefully not to your grief- I’ve chosen to let its mystery persist without explanation. What do you think it is?

Anyhow, there you have it. All apologies for the delay in response. Thanks for stopping by- and thanks for those awesome comments!

September 04, 2010

Where is She? - Hélène Cixous


Hélène Cixous (b. 1937)

Where is she?
Activity/passivity,
Sun/Moon, Culture/Nature,
Day/Night,
Father/Mother,
Head/heart,
Intelligible/sensitive,
Logos/Pathos. . . .
Man
˗˗˗˗˗˗˗˗˗˗˗˗
Women





Of the 'Poem' ... Gorgeous (though tragic) ... !

September 02, 2010

The Kingbird's Omen

Click the picture, gory but appropriate ...


Spurinna knew all to well the coming fate of that great leader- how couldn't he, for he was one of Rome’s chief soothsayers and interpreters of signs, and all the signs of that fated day besieged him about.

He warned Caesar that an impending danger loomed over him, that he ought to be on his guard and to brace himself through to the coming Ides of March. Caesar would have none of it.

Then came the Ides of March.

Caesar, as he passed the soothsayer on his way to the senate chambers, mocked and called Spurinna a false prophet- for the Ides of March had come to pass and he remained unscathed. But the prophet warned that though it had indeed come, it had not passed. Then Caesar, entering the senate conclave, headlong into the hands of fate did violently perish.


****


The Kingbird's Omen

A king-bird flew in Pompey’s Hall
Pursued by others from the grove
With laurel sprig in hand it strove
To hard elude the brawl

But overcome by violence wide
It fell the victim of its foes
And as they there in triumph rose
On purple floors it died

These symbols in Spurinna stirred
And warnings out to Caesar went
But fruitless was the message sent
The omen went unheard

Then there he was near Pompey’s Hall
Pursued by fate and too by Jove
And as he toward the senate strove
There Caesar met his fall

For overcome by violence wide
He fell the victim of his foes
And as they there in triumph rose
On scarlet floors he died

-jwm



Of the Poem (Poetic Parameters):

Stanza: Italian quatrain

Meter: The first three lines of each quatrain are done in tetrameter (or 8 syllables per line), while the last lines in each quatrain are in trimeter (or 6 syllables)

Rhyme Scheme: abba (per stanza)

For a little more about the poem check out the comments area.

Thanks for stopping by.

As of April 9th, 2010