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Archive for February, 2008

Piecing Together The Moon

It is like trying to hold back
the cosmic explosion
that makes or destroys a world.

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200px-apollinaire_by_vlaminck_1903.jpg

Portrait du poète Guillaume Apollinaire, 1903
by Maurice de Vlaminck

I thought it would be fun to present a counter-attack to the idea in my last essay that poems have a definite form they are trying to attain, based on the poetry of French poet Guillaume Apollinaire (1860-1918).

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The Willow

And a decrepit bunch of trees.
Pushkin

I grew up where all was patterned and silent,
In the cool nursery of the age, itself young;
I didn’t like human words, spoken or sung,
But I understood what the wind meant.
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Autumn Cafe

Sometimes her old love

season of lessenings, season of dolor

would pass through town as the broomgrass was dying

fragrant seasoning, tinge of Other

and wait for her in the fragile dark

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As One Listens to the Rain

Listen to me as one listens to the rain,
not attentive, not distracted,
light footsteps, thin drizzle,
water that is air, air that is time,
the day is still leaving,
the night has yet to arrive,
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One Art, by Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979) is considered one of the best villanelles in existence. There are 16 drafts of this poem written in 1976, three years before she died.

This first draft of One Art interests me because we can hear the woman in this, not just the poet. Her stream-of-consciousness writing in this draft is where many poems begin. The side roads, the asides are where the poem wants to come to life. It is important to follow these paths when a poem is first gotten down. If you are careful and start editing out parts of the writing, you might lose the heart of a poem.

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Today I Would Offer You Flowers

Today I would offer you flowers,
but I can only hold out the hand of my thoughts,
a flower is written at the end of each finger.

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