Friday, May 02, 2014

White Rose, bug, wrong question

As well as being a photograph of a white rose in our garden, it is also a picture of sunlight! Many of the roses are blown now, but some buds are still opening, We are now at the stage when it becomes necessary to tidy the plant with my clippers.

Tonight's poem is again from The Best American Poetry, 2013, page 67.

I just finished the excellent new biography of Marianne Moore, and plan to pick some things of hers to share, but so far, I cannot figure out how to reproduce her very important spacing and arrangement by re-typing here.The biography, Holding On Upside Down: The Life and Work of Marianne Moore by Linda Leavell, Macmillan, 2013, follows her whole life, which was in many ways physically very circumscribed, and which is very well documented by the stupendous amount of letter-writing by herself, her family and friends. The author pays special attention to the construction and revision of her poems,and also her translations of the verse fables of the French writer, La Fontaine. I am hoping to get a copy of these fables and maybe blog about one soon.  If you have any interest in 20th Century Modernism, Steiglitz, Eliot, Pound, H.D., Bryher. W. C. Williams and so on and so forth, you will be very interested in this well-researched and well-written book. It put a new spin on many things for me.

Tony Hoagland

Wrong question

Are you all right? she asks. wrinkling her brow,
and I think how unfair that question is,

how it rises up and hangs there in the air
like a Welcome sign shining in thr dark;

Are you all right? Is all she has to say
with that faint line between her eyebrows
that signifies concern,

and her soft, moral-looking mouth,
and I feel as if I have fallen off my bike

and she wants to take care of my skinned knee
back at her apartment.

Are you all right? she says,

and all the belts begin to move inside my factory
and all the little citizens of me

lay down their tasks, stand up and start to sing
their eight-hour version of The Messiah of my Unhappiness.

Am I all right?

I thought I was all right before she asked,

but now I find that I have never been all right.
There is something soft and childish at my core

I have not been able to eliminate.
And yet---it is the question I keep answering.

originally published in Fifth Wednesday Journal

This is a fairly clear and understandable idea for a poem. But I love the part about the factory and the eight-hour Messiah of my unhappiness. And I thought you might like it, too. I had two computer glitches while doing this, a sudden Windows update and a mouse-click failure, But I didn't lose very much and here we are again tonight!

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