Friday, May 7, 2010

Lost in Translation

I'm starting to read poetry again, due in part to Troll's Haiku contests and also to my niece telling me recently she may want to grow up to be a poet, which is kind of cool if we forget for a moment that every bone in my body itches to scream at her, no, honey no! grow up to be a lawyer! Then I remember, wait a minute, I'm just supposed to be the aunt, and the Cool One at that, so pffffft. I'll leave the reality-of-life stuff up to her father.

I also have all these poetry books on my shelves. Like, a gazillion of them. Like, if someone from the television show Hoarders were to come to my house, they might have to call Someone In the Know to see if I do, in fact, qualify for at least a side bar on one of the shows about a lady who devotes an entire wall of her house to three huge bookshelves for God Only Knows What Reason because, sweet Jesus, has she never heard of a library? Then again, my books are so very neatly arranged, and besides, S.B. still has room for his big ass television, so leave me alone.

Anyway, in addition to revisiting Yeats (rocks) and Anne Sexton (maybe not so much as I used to think), I'm also getting interested in some modern stuff. Like Tom Walmsley, whose poem below was sent to me by a reader a year or so ago. It's from his collection, What Happened, and naturally, it spoke to me immediately:

leaving aside the tree itself &
whether it was an act of progress
through rebellion or mutiny to
eat & know good & evil &
leaving aside possibilities of
patriarchal plots the
woman eve succumbing & corrupting
& leaving aside the nutty idea any of it
actually happened i say

isn't the point the
big point that he ratted her out that
he the man adam pointed the finger at
her & if she eve the disobedient sidekick is
the true problem the sinner the cause of
the fall is that why it's been decided it
has been preached that ratting out isn't
nearly as bad as disobedience &

in some sermon somewhere the
point should be shouted that adam was
a genuine pussy & i think the lesson is
when you rat out your neighbour's friends
relatives strangers because it's a law-
abiding patriotic thing to do
then the rat &
the ratted are both banished to the
land of nod but only
one of you can hold up her head.

* * *

So, tell Moi: do you read poetry?

1. No! Poetry's for hippies. I prefer pin up calendars and comic books.
2. But of course! With a nice Chianti and some fava beans.
3. Sometimes. Like, when I'm looking for a birthday card.

Feel free to share your favorite stanza or line, too.


Jenny said...

Number 3? (which made me snort coffee up my nose, btw.)

My beloeved BIL has actually had a few put into print, but I am woefully uneducated on current poets. Or old ones, really. I'm so impressed with you.

Here's my favorirte Yeats. I have to admit I first heard it on a Twilight Zone (1984) Its just beautiful.

When You are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,

And nodding by the fire, take down this book,

And slowly read, and dream of the soft look

Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,

And loved your beauty with love false or true,

But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,

And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,

Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled

And paced upon the mountains overhead

And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

--W. B. Yeats

Buzz Kill said...

The Pudge (12 years old) and I had a poetry discussion of sorts just yesterday. He was looking for favorite nursery rhymes for a school assignment and I suggested - There Once was a Girl from Nantucket. The Mrs immediately scowled at me.

I did explaine the joke to the Pudge later and he thought it was funny. He assured me he wouldn't use it for his assignment. But i see a phone call from the teacher in my future - deserved.

So I'd have to say #1.

Heff said...

Next time it comes up, just casually say "You know, I've NEVER heard of a multi-million dollar poet....."

Make her THINK, lol !

Bretthead said...

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I don't read poetry,
Cuz I never really get it.

I used to write a lot of odes though. But those are easy and fun cuz they rhyme everywhere. I have some good camping ones from 20 years ago or so.

Pam said...

I feel the need for some poetry from time to time. Good for the soul, dontcha know. I grew up in a time of Rod McEwen (McEuen?) and e.e.cummings and Beatles lyrics.

But a fave poem for me? This one:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

...Robert Frost

moi said...

Boxer: Sort of apropros to what we've been talking about lately.

Buzz: I bet you get LOTS of calls from the teachers :o)

Heff: I figure she'll grok to reality once she has her own job. Aw, gee, kiddo, see how that works?

WTWA: Ode to Donut, por favor!

Pam: I love cummings. Frost, too. A classic.

Trooper Thorn said...

I always thought Adam was a whiney pussy: "Ooo, I'm lonely, Ooo, it's forbidden, Ooo, let's hide..." Grow a pair First Man!

LaDivaCucina said...

Of course, me being the rock and roll goth chick (that refused to dye my hair black!) back in the day, I have my book of Baudelaire. I have read maybe 10 poems out of it. I just can't get into reading it.

However....when someone, especially the poet themselves, read their own poems with passion, I GET IT. (like seeing Michael Franti in S.F. exciting!)

As far as being a poet as a career? I say, what are musical lyrics but poems?

Stay cool, Aunti Moi, stay cool, mama! yeah.

Aunty Belle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aunty Belle said...

hehehe- 1,2,3, is hilarious!

Let yore niece become a poet--but write greetin' cards fer her bread an butter.

I does read it--used to think I'se so kool fer readin' Rumi (after years of Kahlil Gibran) but ah, I'se moved on some. What a lie--I read Dante and that will grow ya up quick.

I does still read them ole men: George Herbert, The Bard and well, the Fugitive Agrarians like John Crowe Ransom... and Robert Lowell...and Wendell Berry.

The latter warns his readers:

Do not think me gentle
because I speak in praise
of gentleness, or elegant
because I honor the grace
that keeps this world. I am
a man crude as any,
gross of speech, intolerant,
stubborn, angry, full
of fits and furies. That I
may have spoken well
at times, is not natural.
A wonder is what it is.

Uncle doan aim so high--he jes' customizes nursery rhymes:

Little Miss Muffet
sat on a tuffet
eating her curds and whey

along came a spider
and sat down beside her
and she beat the hell out of it with her spoon

Not exactly Haiku

moi said...

Trooper Thorn: Welcome, Trooper, to Moi's Blob! Hmmmm . . . could it be, Adam was a Democrat? (Oopsie, did I just say that?)

La Diva: You know, I would SO dig it if my niece grew up to be a rock star. But she had guitar lessons at an early age. It didn't take, darn it.

Aunty: Bwahahahahaha to Uncle! I like the Berry poem – nicely done. And if there's anything better than Dante I don't know what it is, but in small doses, a little at a time.

Heff said...

Thanks for the "Larry David" comment, lol !

On a SAD note, I THINK Troll deleted his blog tonight over that STUPID Culinary Smackdown nonsense.

Jeezuz..some people just CAN'T take a joke....

moi said...

Heff: Man, I sure hope he didn't fly off in a huff over the Smackdown. Okay, so if he decided he no longer wanted to blog? That's cool. But drop by and say goodbye, for cryin' out loud. Sniff.

Milk River Madman said...

I'll read this again sober and comment then. I'm kind of Crowned. (on a Friday? Whoda thunk?)

fishy said...

Being a faux adult, nursery rhymes are still my favorite poetry and Aesop the wise one I most consult.

This week however, I did travel down to Jawja, landing on country music stations every time I hit the seek button. Now I am thinking some of the country song lyrics are very good poetry. Does this count more than a Hallmark card? Or a spoon smashed spider?

moi said...

Milk River: Which is just going to take you into limerick territory. Not that that's a bad thing.

Fishy: In high school, we had a junior-year elective called Pop Music As Poetry. It was a very cool class. I'd love to teach something like it today. There IS great poetry in lyrics of all kinds.

sparringK9 said...

saturday night
im cleaning the cabin
thinking about a friend
Alex on the radio
what does Greece portend?
morpheus has a blue pill
maximus has a sword
trout curled on the carpet
chewing her reward
nightbird calling softly
there's nothing in the fridge
will my friend return again
from underneath the bridge?
dusted up the floorboards
vacuumed the lampshades
whats the reason why
a season finally fades?
but nevermind
im soaking in grapefruit
little yellow jacket
just busted out the chute
trout curled on the quilt now
its cooler than i thought
im tired from working eight today
on the nursery lot
getting kind of sleepy
still thinking bout that troll
sending him the love
from doomers hidey hole

Bretthead said...

Here I am in Moi’s blog,
Per her special request,
I obey her like a faithful dog,
Which seems to work out best.

Moi asked for a donut ode,
Cuz they are a sugary yummy dream,
If I every stop by her abode,
I’d expect a plate of Krispy Kreme.

Dunkin Donuts also works
As long as there’s lots of icing,
Long Johns in porn gives Moi smirks,
Long Johns in milk are way more enticing.

Donuts tend to make me fat and dumpy,
So I don’t have them very often,
Too many can make me sick and jumpy,
Eat them every day and I’d be in a coffin.

Oh but I like to dip them in milk
Taking advantage of the double meaning
My dunking style is smooth as silk,
And my fingernails get a super cleaning.

Donuts aren’t just for cops,
Homer Simpson says so too
They’re so much better than muffin tops,
Even when eating them makes me say moo.

I hope this donut ode meets your expectations,
Cuz I made it up on the fly,
I want to maintain our nice relations,
And I’ll always be your blogging donut guy.

Jenny said...

K9's entry made me misty.

Aunty Belle said...

"there's nothing in the fridge
will my friend return again
from underneath the bridge?"

sigh...T-Man, come see us.

moi said...

K9: Lovely, thank you. Perfect example of what, to me, makes a poem great—the ability to condense big experiences and emotions down to a flash of shorthanded images that resonate in spite of how personal or universal the message.

WTWA: Am I really that bossy? Dang it. Still, thanks for taking the time to compose a rockin' donut ode! Some day, I'll have to post on the merits of Dunkin' versus Krispy and, of course, the creme de la creme, Top Pot in Seattle. Which I think does FedEx, but I'm NOT going there.

Boxer and Aunty: All day long yesterday, all that kept going through my head was, "Come Back, Little Sheba!" Which isn't exactly right, so then it was Coldplay's "Trouble" lyrics and that wasn't right, either, because Troll would cringe at the Emo-ness of it all.