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St. Valentine ’s Day is not celebrated in the House of Spo other than Urs Truly buying sweeties for the candy dish.

Someday I should write an entry on “Cupid and Psyche” which is one of my favorite myths. It is a great story how Eros marries Mind (after many ordeals) to produce conscious state of being.

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As a Valentine I offer Spo-fans this poem; it is one of my favorites:

Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy

Not a red rose or a satin heart. I give you an onion. It is a moon wrapped in brown paper. It promises light like the careful undressing of love. Here. It will blind you with tears like a lover. It will make your reflection a wobbling photo of grief. I am trying to be truthful. Not a cute card or a kissogram. I give you an onion. Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips, possessive and faithful as we are, for as long as we are. Take it. Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring, if you like. Lethal. Its scent will cling to your fingers, cling to your knife.

Newer Spo-fans may not know I like a good poem. I will stop the blog from time to time to post one.  They don’t often get read or evoke comments. But I like them.

This one is from Spoon Rive Anthology. In this tome the dead of Spoon River, IL tell tales from their graves of how their lives really were and their regrets and loves. They advise the living.  Here is what Marie Bateson says:

Marie Bateson

You observe the carven head

With the index finger pointing heavenward.

That is the direction, no doubt.

But how shall one follow it?

It is well to abstain from murder and lust,

To forgive, do good to others, worship God

Without graven images.

But these are external means after all

By which you chiefly do good to yourself. 

The inner kernel is freedom,

It is light, purity –

I can no more,

Find the goal or lose it, according to your vision. 

 

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All day long things pop into me gulliver: memories, characters out of books and scenes from movies, songs, and words of wisdom from long ago mentors. As a shrink pause to  wonder ‘why’ this item suddenly appeared and what triggered it and what does it tell me about my situation or self. Sometimes these pop-ups are worthwhile to share with patients to illustrate a point.

Today –  for no apparent reasons yet realized – this poem or lyric – appeared:

I still remember a summer gone by

Why was it over so fast

I still remember when we said good-by

Why can’t our summertimes last?

Do you remember me? once I called you my own

I’m sad as I can be for it’s no fun all alone

Why can’t a memory roll away like a tear?

Why do I go to my window 

Hoping you will appear?

Cause I need you

Cause I miss you

Cause I wish you were here.

Curious: I can hear the song clearly but I can’t remember the context. I think it was in a movie. *  Going just with the words, the it appears to be about someone longing for another now lost to him or her. In my process of expanded imagination (as a good Jungian does) I sense this isn’t about me longing for some past love but someone – or something longing for me to return to it. I am not sure. Certainly it is about longing for something or someone that is no more.

It makes me think what is it I am missing and longing to reconnect with?  I don’t believe this is a literal longing for some past love; it is something more esoteric and profound. Indeed I hear it recited in a female voice; this makes me think it is a symbolic representation of something and not of someone.  Some sort of Anima message.

It is a bit unsettling. It isn’t so much I can’t deduce what it is or why it is popping up all of a sudden from the recesses of my pumpkin. What is concerning is its ‘past’ element. There is a longing to go back and retrieve something lost and reconnect. I am usually suspicious of “going back” as it is not forward. Yet I don’t feel this is a siren song. It sounds lost.

There is something of which I am out of touch calling me to join her/it.

Certainly the emotions it evokes are pathos and sadness.  So what is it I have lost in myself? Why is it repairing now? And how to I find it?

I need not worry. Eventually it will manifest itself consciously either from more careful analysis or merely in time. Truth and archetypal energies will be heard; if they don’t succeed the first time they keep at it (through dreams or daydreams or synchronicity) until the person connects with it.

Meanwhile I feel the melancholy of not finding the path to it.  I am missing something and I need to find what it is.

* I would be most grateful if some Spo-fan can ‘name that tune’ for me. I think knowing some of its actual context would help me to solve the mystery.

Until I have some decent time to write a decent entry, here is one os my favorite poems, apropos for the day…..

Valentine – Carol Ann Duffy

Not a red rose or a satin heart.

I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.

Here.
It will blind you with tears
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.

I am trying to be truthful.

Not a cute card or a kissogram.

I give you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
possessive and faithful
as we are,
for as long as we are.

Take it.
Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring,
if you like.
Lethal.
Its scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife.

I associate June with strawberries and 5AM sunrises. The month’s official soundtrack is Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. I am very fond of the music; I never tire of the play. Happily I get another serving this summer when we go to Stratford, Ontario.

I love going into the forest of Athens and be part of the comic mismatch. I have to be careful when I see MND, for I know the play by heart; I tend to move my lips like a priest as he says his prayers.  Like the rude mechanicals I want a part. But being ‘slow of study’ I prefer the lion’s part.  If I could I would be Oberon if only for the poetry. *

I never tire of it. It’s an old favorite yet it is being forever done in a different manner.  I enjoy seeing the different interpretations and settings.**  I wonder what Stratford will do this summer.  I wouldn’t mind a traditional setting complete with gossamer and fairy-wings.

I have a recording of MND I made from LPs from a college dorm library. It emphasizes the somnolence; the fairies are quiet and soothing, talking almost in whispers.  It is puts me asleep no matter what.

 

You spotted snakes with double tongue,

Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen;

Newts and blind-worms, do no wrong,

Come not near our fairy queen.

Philomel, with melody

Sing in our sweet lullaby;

Lulla, lulla, lullaby, lulla, lulla, lullaby:

Never harm,

Nor spell nor charm,

Come our lovely lady nigh;

So, good night, with lullaby.

Weaving spiders, come not here;

Hence, you long-legg’d spinners, hence!

Beetles black, approach not near;

Worm nor snail, do no offence.

Philomel, with melody

Sing in our sweet lullaby;

Lulla, lulla, lullaby, lulla, lulla, lullaby:

Never harm,

Nor spell nor charm,

Come our lovely lady nigh;

So, good night, with lullaby.

 

Good night from Spo-land  !

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  • Some say I am more like Titania: a fairy queen in pursuit of a Bottom.

** Only once has a production fallen flat. Some know-it-all at the University of Chicago decided to cut out Act I to start with Act II with Oberon and Puck in a homosexual relationship.

POETRY

Urs Truly likes to read poems. 

 

NPR recently sent a link to a collection of poems titled “Poems to make grown men cry”. There were ten of them. By the time I got to Poem #4 I was ready to write myself a prescription for Prozac with a Xanax chaser. They were indeed marvelous but ye gods!  Harry Potter’s Dementors could do no better at sucking out the joy of your life.**

 

I am not a profound reader of poetry.  I tend to enjoy them on a rather superficial level. Most poems I read make no impact; often I don’t ‘get them’. But once in a while I find one that makes me shiver and quake. I am continually reading poetry, hoping to find yet another ‘thumping good poem’ to add to “Poems to make Spo emotional”.  I have poems for ‘every occasion’. Some give me comfort; others invariably cheer me up (Shel Silverstein’s poems do a fine job here).

 

I like that poetry can move me so.  A love of Poetry came to me later in life. I don’t recall being moved by them in my youth. I suppose poetry appreciation is a sort of wisdom, something that requires age and experience.

 

Spo-fans might ask if I have ever written any poetry. I wrote only one. It was a sonnet composed for a lady-love in my medical school class.  She accepted it with thanks without conviction. I doubt she even read the damned thing.  Looking back it seems a ridiculous thing to have done. I had one and only inspiration to write a poem and it was wasted so. Alas, I don’t have the soul of a poet; I wouldn’t have a clue how to compose another one. Spo-poems I fear would rival those of the Volgons.

 

All the same, I am grateful for poetry, including the ten lugubrious ditties I mentioned. They go into my ghost-bag of Thumping Good Poems.

 

Who needs Prozac or Xanax when I have Yeats and Mary Oliver?

 

** If you want a taste, read this one.  Or this one. 

This entry is one of bereavement, eulogy, and a bit of a cry….

 

I discovered through blog-land Big Ruby’s Guesthouse in Key West Florida has closed. This makes me sad.

I first went there in 1990; I was young and anything was possible. I returned nearly every year. As a consequence I have accumulated so many memories. I’ve met most of my long time friends there. It is in Key West I was inspired to make shirts. Some of my best memories with The Best Friend are from these trips.

And of course, this is where I met Someone. If we were to marry, Big Ruby’s would be my first choice.

 

Like a lot of places with so much joy, I wanted it to stay still and unaltered, waiting for me when I next needed it. And now it is no more. I doubt I will ever go back to Key West. It feels closed.

It touches upon the real issue, which is the passage of time. Big Ruby’s wasn’t a merely a resort, it was a symbol. It contained youth, love, life’s potentials, and so much more. Its demise is another shake up things fade and do no last. I am growing old. Friends I met there are also aged and disappearing on me. And there is nothing at present that has this magic.

After some bereavement I will focus back onto the present and move on. I will try to carry Big Ruby’s with me as I try to live life as well as I can.

 

I will end this with Mr. Gilbert’s poem “The Lost Hotels of Paris”

 

The Lord gives everything and charges by taking it back. What a bargain. 

Like being young for a while. We are
allowed to visit hearts of women,
to go into their bodies so we feel
no longer alone. We are permitted
romantic love with it’s bounty and half-life
of two years. It is right to mourn
for the small hotels of Paris that used to be
when we used to be. My mansard looking
down on Notre Dame every morning is gone,
and me listening to the bell at night.
Venice is no more. The best Greek Islands
have drowned in acceleration. But it’s the having
not the keeping that is the treasure.
Ginsberg came to my house one afternoon
and said he was giving up poetry
because it told lies, that language distorts.
I agreed, but asked what we have
that gets it right even that much.
We look up at the stars and they are
not there. We see the memory
of when they were, once upon a time.
And that too is more than enough.

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In these recent weeks WordPress has sent several announcements new people are following my blog. This is a marvelous thing and I am honored so. It does make me  feel some pressure to “put out” something deep, insightful or at least humorous. I am more likely to success with the later.  Being a clown is easy; at an early age I realized people were laughing at me so I figured the least I could do was to try to be funny.

Alas, nothing profound nor doggerel is leaping out of the recesses of my pumpkin. All I have today is dust thoughts.  Apparently this is not the first time dust has evoked my ire.  For no good reason I’ve been preoccupied again with the stuff.  I’ve discovered dust accumulates on the tops of all the picture frames. Even the light switches are surmounted by a thin gray film. There is a mild satisfaction to wetting a rag or paper towel and making a quick sweep across a frame and coming away with a grimy gray spot, knowing the world is just a little more clean from my sublimated OCD.

Like a lot of ‘hobbies’ when I find amusement in something I tend to go with it. I am flitting around the house looking for dusty tops such as found on the back of chairs or the tops of bed knobs. Jolly good fun. “Give Alice two pencils and she will be amused for hours” goes the expression.

No doubt this zany past time will peak and dissipate when I grow bored or there are no more unswiped surfaces or Someone takes away my Windex or I am finally medicated.

Dust – Sydney King Russell

Agatha Morley 

All her life 

Complained of dust 

like a good wife.

Dust on the table,

Dust on the chair.

Dust on the mantel 

she could not bear.

She forgave faults 

In man and child

But a dusty shelf 

Would set her wild.

She bore with sin 

Without protest,

But dust thoughts preyed

Upon her rest.

Agatha Morley

Is sleeping sounds

Six feet under 

The mouldy ground.

Six feet under

The earth she lies

With dust at her feet

And dust in her eyes.

Spo-fans know I like a good poem.

I recently purchased “10 poems to say good-bye” which is the final book in a series of anthologies starting with the words ’10 poems….”.  The first book it titled: “10 poems to change your life”.  I thought  the poems in “10 Poems to say good-bye” were lovely but I stopped reading them out loud as Someone found them morbid. He’s a tough audience.

To lighten the mood I began inventing addendum book titles such as –

“10 poems to make you itch”

“10 poems to read out loud in an oversold airplane flight”

and

“10 poems to read while being boinged”

It made me wonder: what are my favorite poems and do I dare shove them onto the Spo-fans? I used to publish a poem on my blog every, but they went over like lead balloons.  Either the poems were lofty or disagreeable, or my readers (at the time) were not the sort to appreciate a good poem.*

But what the heck. It’s my party and I will cry I want to. Here are my favorite ten poems. They are quite diverse, like my men.

If you want to read’em, they are linked.

I am curious to hear if you have a totally awesome thumping good poem you wish to share with me, for I always like a good poem*.

Beim Schlafengehen

Daffodowndilly

Equal to the Gods

Ithaka

The Journey

The Lost Hotels of Paris

Bear in There

Quiet until the thaw

Stolen Child

Valentine

*The clean ones, anyway.

I frequently have a fancy to run away.

This longing started early in life, thanks to a combination of ferocious reading and the vague terror I was different than others.

There were two elements to disappearing: First there was the ‘running towards’ element. Peter Pan, Alice, Milo, Dorothy, Lucy, countless talking animals, and science fiction characters continually wooed me to go find The Lands Beyond. For allure, their worlds beat my mundane life in Michigan by a country mile (I’ve always had a taste for the exotic and fabulous!).

The other element is ‘running away’. Escape was only solution at the time for being bullied and/or ostracized. For all my longing, I only ran away once, and this was in a peak of temper at my Mother.

My desire to seek out adventure (or at least remove myself from the prosaic) remains a strong one. I get rather tired of myself in the context of who I am. Mind! Life is not bad; I am not unhappy. This desire is about wanting to feel something new and adventuresome.

Now in my middle years I sublimate my ideation to scram through reading, viewing ‘escapist’ movies, and having as many trips as I can do/afford.  It is a thrill to be on the eve of a travel day, especially if it is to my favorite haunts like Palm Springs, Flagstaff, Santa Fe, Stratford Ontario, or Key West.

Curious –  I am not feeling any anticipation or excitement about next month’s Alaska trip, which is less than a month away. I believe this is because the trip doesn’t yet feel “real”. Someone did all the arrangements; the trip is still only an abstract idea.

To close, here is a bit of “Stolen Child” by Yeats :

Away with us he’s going,

The solemn-eyed:

He’ll hear no more the lowing

Of the calves on the warm hillside

Or the kettle on the hob

Sing peace into his breast,

Or see the brown mice bob

Round and round the oatmeal chest.

For he comes, the human child,

To the waters and the wild

With a faery, hand in hand,

For the world’s more full of weeping than he can understand.

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