Saturday, August 24, 2013

Another Daylily Summer is Passing

After we built at the edge of the meadow, S. wanted flowers near the house; they had to be the kind of flowers that could manage by themselves when we were not here. And perennial, to come back on their own. Here, daylilies fill that bill, and we have many different kinds and a blooming seaons that lasts for months.

I have been reading the book The Wild Braid, with pictures of Stanley Kunitz as he worked in his garden near the sea,. The book preserves lots of his garden-talk and poetry-talk, which flows seamlessly back and forth between topics, It is a true pleasure with great color photos; the kind of slender book to browse in, as well as to read right straight through.

Here Kunitz is on his garden: "On some level, when I was looking at that sloping sand, I had a vision of my garden as it is now, certainly in terms of its composition, structure and form.
What I wanted was to heighten the image of a garden tat seems to have taken over a steep hillside, something at rest and in motion at the same time.
The colors of flowers have different vibrations, akin to what Rimbaud spoke of when he referred to the colors of vowels. Rimbaud was one of my very early influences, so that would be a natural alliance here in this garden.There is an internal motion, a sense of timing arising out of the nature of this particular garden, of the plants growing and fading and falling away. And there is the natural motion that comes from the wind itself."  (page 71)

Earlier, in talking about a juniper that had to be pruned, he says, "I kept pruning it back, converting its battered state into an aesthetic principle, and now it has taken on a completely different shape, speading, rather than growing upright. As with the making of a poem, so much of the effort is to get rid of all the excess, and at the same time be sure that you are not ridding the poem of its essence.
The danger is that you cut away the heart of a poem and are less.ft only with the most ordered and contained element. A certain degree of sprawl is necessary; it should feel as though there's room to maneuver, that you're not trapped in a cell. You must be very careful not to deprive the poem of its wild origin." (page 57)

Here is a poem by Tomas Transtromer, from The Great Enigma; new collected poems translated from the Swedish by Robin Fulton. (page 208)

Night Journey

Thronging under us. The trains.
Hotel Astoria trembles.
A glass of water at the bedside
shines in the tunnels.

He dreamt he was a prisoner on Svalbard.
The planet turned rumbling.
Glittering eyes walked over the ice fields,
The beauty of miracles existed.

Transtromer is a good poet to hang out with to get the feeling of wild origins still in the poems. I have two more poems already picked out out this more. 
And in case you are wondering about Svalbard, it is quite interesting; here is a link.

Challenge to self and to you, too! Write a poem that is too much and then revise it without taking out all of its "muchness." And now to bed, sleep well.

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