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Poetry Arrived In Search Of Me
Y fue a esa edad...Llego la poesia a buscarme. -Pablo Neruda

Psalm of the Disarranged

Tuesday, November 01, 2005
That's What I Said

It pricks the arms like poison,
knowing that some things, once chosen,
are yours and that meanwhile the night comes
much too soon this time of year.
There are things you will not be allowed to say.
You think them anyway, until they become you.
The two boys in shirt sleeves are in the street
again, skateboards balking
where the sidewalk buckles in geologic fault.
They seem mirthless, as they yell and fall
and the cold mist tries to veil them from passing cars.

Yesterday’s storm slammed the leaves to the ground.
Hiss, hiss, the tires go, against the scraps
of piano music, not Chopin today, from upstairs.
Someone tried to understand you once
and he’s dead, though not from trying.
Clunk, clunk, goes the landlady’s daughter,
trying out her new boots on the back stairs.

Things have narrowed to a point
and no gorgeous diction can get you out of it.
There’s just the flats of your feet,
willing each new step out of empty pockets
where change, keys, pens once rattled.
You threw them into the bushes on the next block
and then came home with the grey linings hanging
from your jacket like socks.
You forgot to check the mail
and when you opened the door
you brought the night in with you.

-April Bernard

One of the reasons that poetry holds such power for me is the fact that I cannot write it. I once wrote a letter to a friend, saying, "I can write elephant poetry that stomps and tramples you with meaning, that you can hear coming from twelve miles away. You don’t even have to scramble to get out of its way. You can take your time, have a cup of tea and discuss the weather before I get there."

I have always envied the subtle because I am anything but...in my real life as well as my writing. I don't even know what to say about these people who chose each word with such presion, who can call up eleventy million phrases to describe the exact sound of a fall afternoon . I am astounded a thousand times in a line of poetry, a trillion times in an entire stanza.

But of course, part of the dilemma in poetry is that its very purpose is to describe the indescribable. Words are so ineffective in relating the best and worst that our minds can throw at us, and though poets use sounds and devices to attempt it, there are just some things that must remain unspoken and unknown except in the hearts of those who feel them.

I wrote something down a while ago, questioning the responsibility you have to those you love, regardless of circumstance or reciprocation. It was long winded, wordy, and in the end said nothing I wanted it to. Then I found this, and in just two lines, it was there "knowing that some things, once chosen, are yours." Precisely what I was trying to say but couldn't achieve. Oh, relief. And then, "Things have narrowed to a point/and no gorgeous diction can get you out of it." Because sometimes, words are just words. And all the perfect poems in the world can't change that. And other things, other things that it seems Ms. Bernard wrote just for me, just for tonight.


I am in love with this poem this evening. Head over heels. Man, this is fun.
10:19 PM :: ::
1 Comments:
  • first you write, and then you struggle.

    then you write about the struggle and this is where true poetry begins.

    By Blogger herpen8, at 7:55 PM  
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