Friday, April 10, 2015

Arrangement in black, yellow and red

Something from last October; the pileated woodpecker
is a fine feeder bird. He fancies suet.
I fancy seeing him again.

On Jeopardy recently there was a question about Whistler's Arrangement in Blue and Gold, so I looked up the titles of his other "arrangements" and while doing so found him in Wikiquotes, which I had sort of forgotten about. I love this one:

"Paint should not be applied thick. 
It should be like a breath 
on the surface of a pane of glass." 

James Abbott McNeill Whistler




Here the walker suddenly meets the giant
oak tree, like a petrified elk whose crown is
furlongs wide before the September ocean's
murky green fortress.

Northern storm. The season when rowanberry
clusters swell. Awake in the darkness, listen:
constellations stamping inside their stalls, high
over the treetops.

Tomas Transtromer
The Great Enigma; new and collected poems,
New Directions, 2006, Kindle location 574.

This is the first of three parts of Autumnal Archipelago. Just two four-line stanzas, with a much shorter fourth line. The two other parts use the same form. I think it would be a useful task to try writing several loosely linked poems in this form. I like the way the poem moves from the solitary walker to the impatient stars.

I haven't had rowanberries in my life, but I have had elderberries [I made ink from them when I was 10 years old; I knew I would need it to be a writer. I macerated the berries in an empty tuna fish can and hid it in the garage, near where the bush grew.] and serviceberries (also called Juneberries) [Once I spent an afternoon watching the squirrels in the west meadow follow the bending branches out the tip to eat serviceberries.] and I have plucked tiny wild strawberries almost too small to taste. I think autumn must be my favorite season, although our current spring is progressing well here in Idaho, and often berries ripen in summer.

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