I've been obsessing a little bit lately over poetry, as you may have noticed if you read my post-before-last. Like I said, I'm rather aching for a poetry workshop group. I want to be writing. I have been, a very little bit, and as I don't have a workshop group, I guess the next best thing I can do is post them here. I'd use o.d., but I'm afraid I'd end up with one of those legions of people who tell not-that-great poets how wonderful and beautiful and touching their poetry is. (Or possibly worse, that I wouldn't.) I have no idea really whether I have any poetic talent, but I want to be writing either way. So here we go. Here are two that I started earlier in the fall and have worked on once or twice since then. I was really not very happy with them in the beginning, but I think they're a little better now. If anyone has opinions (particularly specific, constructive opinions), feel free to share.
This first one was written because I wrote as my facebook status one day, "I wish I was [were? I'm never sure about this] the heir to some beautiful, sprawling country estate somewhere." I later discovered that my sister, hearing the status message read aloud, had thought that I had written "I wish I was[/were] the air" to some estate, and that I was being poetic. So I decided to be poetic, in a slightly annoying, punny sort of way. Here's the result thus far.
The Air To A Country Estate
I'd breeze in through the French doors
and down the wide, open hallways,
spreading late afternoon sun like
sweet cream butter. I'd lie around lightly
and lazy on cotton bedspreads, light pink
and worn thin and soft. I'd roll through
the dust and dirt like scuffed suede boots,
drink the dew from the lawn, and breathe
out across the ruffled brown-blue bay.
Here are my issues with this poem at this moment: "I'd I'd I'd..." It practically sounds like a stutter to me. The sentences all begin the same way, and they're almost all choppy. Also, the poem doesn't really say anything. It's just a couple of images that I kind of like, strung together. So I like the language and the imagery okay, but I find the poem as a whole rather irritating.
Second poem, inspired by my lamentably short visit to the Farley family beach week this year. It was fantastic in a lot of ways. For instance: my mom and I arrived at the beach just in time to walk into a huge crab-picking free-for-all. A house full of excellent food, excellent wine, plenty of beer, and a lot of people who loved each other. After the party she and I went and stayed in a house with three of her brothers, and one sister-in-law (my favorite one), and I got peer pressured into a shot of vodka and an impromptu music appreciation lesson. (The main thrust of which was that Ry Cooder was the best guitarist of all time, and Little Feat was the best album.) Anyway, the point of this is that at some point my mom and my uncle Bobby and I went for a walk on the beach, and it was one of those rare nights where patches of the sand are filled with...magic, essentially...dinoflagellates, and phosphoresce when you walk across them. I've only seen that one other time, on a pretty great weekend kayaking trip out to the Outer Banks with some friends in high school. So here's this one.
Sea birds cry the hours as they pass,
and the sun grows heavy
and sinks wearily below the hoizon,
and pressing west.
Behind the hidden moon, stars stretch
and sigh. Sparks flutter awake
as the day fades, and wash the dim sea
Endless waves crash
and drag down the beach,
dropping dinoflagellates from the foam
and whispering of brief,
buried in the sand.
My issues with this poem: again, it doesn't really say anything at all. There's some nice imagery I guess, but even that is awkward, and there's not much of a point to it. I guess what it comes down to is that both poems amount to "I saw this pretty thing one time, and I haven't bothered to find anything in any way symbolic or meaningful about it, but it was pretty." They're irrelevant.
I wrote this one yesterday at work, on a paper napkin.
There are so many different kinds of love.
In this room, the love of the young man for his pen.
The love of the pen for the paper.
The love of the paper for the hand.
Of the fish-seller's knowing hands
for the knife, for the tray,
for the soft fish flesh that he prunes
and carefully smooths with water.
The water too bears love for the fish, for the sinks,
for the soap, the soap for the dishes
and hands. The display case bears up the ice;
the ice gives itself up for the food it cradles.
Love of floor for feet, feet for hands,
hands for food for body. There is love upon love
upon love, mixed with love. All different.
All the same.
(Edit: the sign-off on the last entry was supposed to say peace out. But I think maybe I kind of like peach, too. Hm.)