When I started posting some of my poems on the blog, mostly copied at first, like the retirement speech, from stuff I had posted as Notes on Facebook, I just put the verse in the post and left it that way. Now that I have gotten bolder at revealing some information about myself, I should update those posts. However, as infatuated with links as I am, it seems more fun to create a new post today and just link back and forth between those posts and here for the various biographical and analytical remarks I may feel compelled to say (I haven’t thought up anything yet).
“Busy Music” (the first poem here and the first villanelle)
I should acknowledge that I did edit one post a little before I got this idea. Although I have had an offer to kind of/sort of publish one of the villanelles, “Busy Music” remains my favorite. I realize that I rely on near rather than actual rhymes in the first and last stanzas, but that imperfection is part of the pattern. I also like the neat storytelling the poem does within its limited resources of words and syllables.
The speaker admitted to love before being sure that was what he felt, then fell into the harness of a relationship (did indeed fall in love?) until the girl graduated (“commenced”) and found a larger life and more opportunities (“conjure other faces”). I like that the relationship is a waltz (a box-step). The poor speaker is still trapped in the emotions and relationship he effectively summoned on himself until he can fight free (“exhale my impassioned incantations”). As the third line asserts: love is mysterious magic that we don’t control—it controls us.
I think I should acknowledge that “the busy music bends us on our way” in allusion to C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra and That Hideous Strength) and the so-called “bent ones.” The direction life takes us, shapes us, may not be all for the best.
“Sanctuary” (autobiographical mythology)
The next poem, “Sanctuary,” is not quite ten years later. Although I did choose to center it in recent editing, it originally aligned left like any standard poem, and I was wondering what my readers thought. My eye likes the centered version, but I also think it makes it harder to read.
The story of this poem is pretty straightforward. A primitive, even savage speaker arrives at a temple, a building of a more civilized people. His own prehistoric rituals correspond to our archaeological evidence, while this new structure contains a pool of water in which he sees his own reflection (without realizing it?) and a statue of a mother and child (either an overt Pietà or just some early fertility image). The image intrigues him but terrifies him with its possibilities; as he turns to depart, a religious woman, who strikes him as beautiful, appears. He hesitates between flight and remaining.
In my introduction to that post, I said it ends with a doubt, a question. Does he stay or does he go (to echo the Clash)? In truth, I know the poem answers its own question: the speaker knows it’s a statue, uses a huge civilized word—holographic—and has presented a poem.
Perhaps unpredictably, the poem did arise from life, although unlike the creation, in reality I fled.
I will keep it short for today. The ice of last week chained me to the house (and made walking to play rehearsals impossible: thanks for the rides, cast mates and Janet) so I got lengthy with many of those posts (and ones that were scheduled into this week). I also sat all day on Monday to finish “Details, Details,” and that fifth chapter got lengthy. Janet and I went to her one-year eye appointment for her detached retina this week and also went out for lunch, so I have actually freed myself from the keyboard a little. I even got a bit of substitute teaching today—reminding me that I should work on activities that might lead to financial compensation.So I will take it easy on you all and stop now.
Things have been on my mind of late (like the Cowardly Broadcast System and its unfair advertising policies), as Facebook followers might realize, that could, if not checked, have led to another “Foxhunt Friday” a day early, and no one’s ready for that right now.