Saturday, June 27, 2009

My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums, should I leave them at your gate, or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?

In this world that’s drowning in data, abstract written thought that represents a synthesis or a culmination of information into a digestible form is in short supply. That’s always been the prescription for poetry that matters.
I like this - it's from a post by a guy called Larry Sawyer. No, I don't know who he is either - probably like me, he enjoys the outlet of the blog. Larry uses his blog to publish his poetry. He's on the left if you want to read his stuff (under the blog title Me-Tronome). This post isn't about Larry though, or me. It's about poetry generally and Robert Bly in particular.

We are drowning in data aren't we. At school I look at data daily - suspension/ discipline data, achievement data, attendance data...and on and on. My English class teaching time is often the best part of my day. I can stretch myself a bit and think about things via that abstract written thought stuff Larry's on about.

I often think about poetry. moods and thoughts from all sorts of sources. Song lyrics make up a lot of thoughts. This post is titled from a Dylan song - Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands. A love poem set to music for his wife Sara. Another example? I watched a movie today called Snow Cakes. Set in Canada the main character says he's on his way to Winnipeg and I immediately have the Neil Young lines in my head from his song Don't Be Denied -
When I was a young boy,
My mama said to me
Your daddy's leavin' home today,
I think he's gone to stay.
We packed up all our bags
And drove out to Winnipeg.

And so to Robert Bly. I often think about lines from his poem 'Six Winter Privacy Poems'.

About four, a few flakes.
I empty the teapot out in the snow,
feeling shoots of joy in the new cold.
By nightfall, wind,
curtains on the south sway softly.

My shack has two rooms, I use
The lamplight falls on my chair and table
and I fly into one of my
own poems -
I can't tell you where -
as if I appeared where I am now
in a wet field, snow falling.

More of the fathers are dying
each day.
It is time for the sons.
Bits of darkness are gathering around
The darkness appears as flakes of light.


There is a solitude like black mud!
Sitting in the
darkness singing,
I can't tell if this joy
is from the body, or the
soul, or a third place.

Listening to Bach

is someone inside this music
who is not well described by the names
Jesus, or Jehovah, or the Lord of Hosts!

When I woke, new snow had
I am alone, yet someone else is with me,
drinking coffee,
looking out at the new snow.

Many of Bly's recurring images/phrases/words are here - rebirth, snow, darkness, solitude, light...But, for me, the synthesis is pretty perfect in this poem. I love the simplicity of lines lines like, 'About four, a few flakes' and the Thoreau like idea of his shack having the luxury of two rooms but he only ever is in one!

This one also resonates for me:

After Long Busyness

I start out for a walk at last after weeks
at the desk.
Moon gone, plowing underfoot, no stars; not a trace of
Suppose a horse were galloping toward me in this open field?
Every day I
did not spend in solitude was wasted.
It's almost haiku like. Again the simplicity and clarity of expression make him
stand out for me. Did I mention haikus? Ok - so, here's one of mine to
off this post:

The door is half closed,
dividing the dark and light,
'till morning comes again.
Love and peace and solitude - W

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