Sunday, August 04, 2013

Catch the water when I kick it!

 I'm still very tired. But these pictures from Canoe Day make me very happy! There is much to do, but fortunately it is the weekend, so I cannot make some of the appointments I need to make. I did get some wet Swiffers today for a little more extensive cleaning. I never thought Swiffering was a good idea until lately (seemed expensive and silly) when I found out that science has made some advances, after all. You should see what I just got off the kitchen floor. I will go to bed feeling SO virtuous!
Tonight I saw my 25-year old grandson for a short visit. He is is sweet as ever, as big as a tree, and played the piano for quite a while after dinner.
One of the books I got when thinking about Stanley Kunits was The Light Within the Light; portraits of Donald Hall, Richard Wilbur, Maxine Kumin and Stanley Kunitz by Jeanne Braham with engravings by Barry Moser. Whew! It is a handsome book of slightly less than 100 pages, a pleasure to hold in your hands. It is printed on creamy paper, and the cover illustration is a beauty! The engravings of the poets are masterly, while not exactly flattering, and seem a little harsh. Still . . .

I found this poem by Maxine Kumin in it on pages 49 and 50..


Into my empty head there come
a cotton beach, a dock wherefrom

I set out, oily and nude
through mist, in chilly solitude.

There was no line, or roof or floor
to tell the water from the air.

Night fog as thick as terry cloth
closed me in its fuzzy growth.

I hung my bathrobe on two pegs
I took the lake between my legs.

Invaded and invader, I
went overhand on that flat sky.

Fish twitched beneath me, quick and tame,
In their green zone they sang my name.

And in the rhythm of the swin
I hummed a two-four-time slow hymn.

I hummed Abide with Me, the beat
rose in the fine thrash of my feet,

rose in the bubbles I put out
slantwise, trailing through my mouth,

My bones drank water, water fell
through all my doors, I was the well

that fed the lake that met my sea
in which I sang Abide with Me.

Kumin's note as quoted in the same source: "Sound is of particular importance in my poems. And I know I write better poems in form--with the demands of a rhyme scheme and a metrical pattern--than I do in the looser line of free verse. Without form I'd feel like I was abandoned in flat Indiana with my eyes sewn open."

This is, I think, a good formal poem. (Are you waiting for the "but"?)  But, I am not completely convinced, It was interesting to me (although maybe I am just crabby tonight. . .) that my two strongest reactions to the text were in the nature of editing questions. I wondered about the title of the hymn; why isn't "with" capitalized? And why, after the comma, begin "In the green zone" with a capital letter?? I probably should head right up to bed and hope for a better mood in the morning. Good Night!

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