30 April 2010

April Poem A Day Challenge Day 30

Poetic Asides: For today's prompt, write a letting go poem. The poem could be about letting go of a relationship; it could be about letting go of anger; it could be about letting go of a tree branch; or it could even be about, yes, letting go of this April challenge. There are so many things we can let go.
A good prompt to end the month on. It's loose enough to interpret many ways. My poem is more or less about letting go of the past. It was more complicated than it sounds, because it needed a preface of sorts built into the poem, so that the actually letting go would have more impact, and so the reader could understand just what was lost and what was gained by the action.

The difficulty is in letting the poem tell the story without attempting to direct it too much, which sounds weird, but I've learned not to apply a heavy hand, or else the poem rebels. Rebellious poems turn into horses with hard mouths, they don't listen, they toss their heads a great deal and generally make any journey less than pleasant. So I bridle my poems with a hackamore, giving up some control for the comfort of the ridden. The poem has the illusion of being free, while I retain some directional ability.

A roundabout way of saying don't overwork it, but at the same time, give it some guidelines. Here are three 'letting go' (or not being able to let go) poems to round out the month.

This Was Once a Love Poem
by Jane Hirshfield

This was once a love poem,
before its haunches thickened, its breath grew short,
before it found itself sitting,
perplexed and a little embarrassed,
on the fender of a parked car,
while many people passed by without turning their heads.

It remembers itself dressing as if for a great engagement.
It remembers choosing these shoes,
this scarf or tie.

Once, it drank beer for breakfast,
drifted its feet
in a river side by side with the feet of another.

Once it pretended shyness, then grew truly shy,
dropping its head so the hair would fall forward,
so the eyes would not be seen.

IT spoke with passion of history, of art.
It was lovely then, this poem.
Under its chin, no fold of skin softened.
Behind the knees, no pad of yellow fat.
What it knew in the morning it still believed at nightfall.
An unconjured confidence lifted its eyebrows, its cheeks.

The longing has not diminished.
Still it understands. It is time to consider a cat,
the cultivation of African violets or flowering cactus.

Yes, it decides:
Many miniature cacti, in blue and red painted pots.
When it finds itself disquieted
by the pure and unfamiliar silence of its new life,
it will touch them—one, then another—
with a single finger outstretched like a tiny flame.

Lot's Wife
by Anna Akhmatova

And the just man trailed God's shining agent,
over a black mountain, in his giant track,
while a restless voice kept harrying his woman:
"It's not too late, you can still look back

at the red towers of your native Sodom,
the square where once you sang, the spinning-shed,
at the empty windows set in the tall house
where sons and daughters blessed your marriage-bed."

A single glance: a sudden dart of pain
stitching her eyes before she made a sound . . .
Her body flaked into transparent salt,
and her swift legs rooted to the ground.

Who will grieve for this woman? Does she not seem
too insignificant for our concern?
Yet in my heart I never will deny her,
who suffered death because she chose to turn.

Going Home
by Wislawa Szymborska

He came home. Said nothing.
It was clear, though, that something had gone wrong.
He lay down fully dressed.
Pulled the blanket over his head.
Tucked up his knees.
He's nearly forty, but not at the moment.
He exists just as he did inside his mother's womb,
clad in seven walls of skin, in sheltered darkness.
Tomorrow he'll give a lecture
on homeostasis in metagalactic cosmonautics.
For now, though, he has curled up and gone to sleep.



Anonymous said...

That was thought provoking and I thank you for sharing. Very Talented.

Constance Brewer said...

Thanks for your kind words. :)