Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Week Sets Sail

This eatery is called THE EGG FACTORY. An an homage to the source-chicken, there are many chicken effigies standing atop the red wall. The light comes in the front windows in a beautiful way and bounces off the yellow wall onto the floor, which is a dark, non-yellow green. The customers and wait-people are very friendly and eating there is always a cheerful experience. While we are in Idaho, we manage to go there a couple of times a month. We were there today after picking up a dental appliance for S. It locks ones teeth together during sleep, so your jaw cannot fall back and cause your airway to collapse, interfering with your essential oxygen supply. Tonight will be the first test. Fingers crossed.

This blog is becoming a little too much I-did-this-I-did-that. Perhaps it all depends on a certain distance from the material to make writing interesting to the reader. Tonight we will stay with Derek Walcott and his long autobiographical poem, which is set during his youth in the Caribbean city of St. Lucia. These passages are from early in the long poem, which is titled Another Life. The first is at Kindle Location 2008 at the very end of Part I:

The sheets of Monday
are fluttering from the yard.
The week sets sail.

and here is the first section from Chapter 3, Kindle location 2091.:

Each dusk the leaf flared on the iron tree,
the lamplighter shouldered his ladder, a sickle
of pale light fell on the earth.

The child tented his cotton nightdress tight
across his knees. A kite
whose twigs showed through. Twilight
enshrined the lantern of his head.

Hands swing him heavenward.
The candle's yellow leaf next to his bed
re-letters Tanglewood Tales and Kingsley's Heroes,
gilding their backs,

the ceiling reels with magic lantern shows.
The black lamplighter with Demeter's torch
ignites the iron trees above the shacks.
Boy! Who was Ajax?

Derek Walcott from Another Life.

OK, here's the plan. I am going to try this, and I suggest you do, too. Write a poem of about this length (15 lines) in four stanzas, perhaps with four-stress lines) about that childhood time when you were in bed but not yet asleep. You may include something about what is going on outside your room or your house. Try to make an extended metaphor (like the kite one) from your child-body and your nightclothes, or something else in your room. What is happening about light? Is there a crack under the door? A nightlight? Are there books in the room? Can you include some titles? In the Walcott poem, we later find out that Ajax (in addition to being that warrior from ancient Greece) is a horse who works as a cart-horse, except for the annual race-day when he is a winner. Is there a motion from a character in your book, to something else about your life that you can briefly indicate? If you do this exercise, why not post it in the comments so we can all see it? And now that you have a new task: sleep well! Good night1

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