Some Juvenalia, and a sweater.

I am searching my house up and down for a poem I wrote last year on same random sheets of paper.    Just to be safe, I pulled out my poetry folder from the writing drawer and check to make sure I hadn’t out it away – I hadn’t.      It was interesting though to look back at some of my writing that dates from the late eighties and early nineties, when I was a child.

Very little of this material is dated,  but two of these pieces (Circles, and It Couldn’t Last)  are typewritten,  which means I most probably wrote them the summer I was 13, while staying with my grandparents in Wyoming while the rest of the family moved from Wyoming to Illinois.    The untitled tanka is from a school project on poetry – a little volume demonstrating different forms.   Other poems in the handwritten volume reference the Horned One and the Lady of Sea,  placing the writing somewhere between the summer ’84  when I first encountered goddess spirituality while searching for books by Andre Norton, and ’89,  when I got my first typewriter.

It Couldn’t Last

Laughing in love,

saying words we neither meant.

If time in love is wasted,

it was wasted time well spent.

 

Circles

Circles circumscribe the world.

Red slashed for no, green lit for go,

and foiled latex assuring save sex.

Coffee mugs, and water jugs,

the throat the killer throttles.

The needle, pill, the cigarette,  and of course the bottles.

Sugar cookies, ice cream cones,

smiley faces, aerodomes.

With each life take, each baseball hurled

another circle round the world.

 

Untitled

Blue sky high above.

Quite bright sun glowing high up.

Birds’ shadows darting

across the ground.   Dark, smooth like

stones skipping across the water.

 

And the sweater:

0111161555a  Some assembly required.   5 skeins of golden brown, two of white,  100% wool, and so old that the labels are just ‘ounces of worsted’, with no yardage.    Roughly estimating 150 yards per skein,  that gives me just over a thousand yards,   enough for a small sweater.   I’m thinking colorwork in the yoke, maybe at the cuffs.

 

Some thoughts on poetry.

To me, poetry is a very intimate endeavor.  I write to capture images of moments real and imagined, or to exorcise overwhelming emotion.   Very often my inspiration is visual, a happening scene that evokes concepts and ideas which demand utterance.
A poem, thus, is a way of capturing and communicating something, and evoking the emotional character of that something.    The use of language in a poem is evocation,  a summoning of the final place the poet wishes to leave the reader.    Prose, by contrast, is intended to be communicative, to give the reader a clear view and path to the intended destination.   Prose demands an agreement on the nature of meaning, on words meaning what they say, on orderly progression through the writing.     Poetry, by contrast, uses the meanings of words and the progression of lines as a kind of backlighting, a way of illuminating rather than describing.

A Tale of Two Wheels

I saw in the old antique mall two histories

Two old spinning wheels, the same in birth and form.

So differently polished by time that the light of each

illuminated the other.

I haven’t been able to identify a specific model,  but I’m fairly certain it’s an old Kromski  –  they looked like a cross between the Polonaise and the Symphony,  and had that distinctive sliding mother of all that Kromski’s do.  They also had direct drive setups – the flyer and bobbin all in one solid piece,  which I’ve never seen before.

It was really fascinating to be able to see both of these wheels at once, and compare the different conditions they were in.     One was very little used,  but damaged in some pretty serious ‘no more spinning for you’ ways – most notable a broken off flyer arm.   The kinds of damages that come of not being used and being carelessly stored.

The other was extremely worn,  and had a number of obvious repairs,  but was still in excellent working order –  it just needed a new drive band.   I turned the wheel by hand, and it spun as smoothly as if freshly oiled.

 

A poem written on the back of a checkbook register in a moment of despair.

I got my reading done young.

a mind filled with the corpses of books
I read as a child.
Edward Abbey, who am I now?
Robert Pirsig speeds away, Cosette’s hair streaming behind the bike.
Ayn Rand buildings shimmer in the distance
and I learn of lust and idealism
among mingled dreams of cave bears and architects.

I don’t remember Raskolnikov,
but I still drink lapsang souchong tea
echoes of the summer I read Michener because I’d never seen a book
about a place I’d been before.

All these old ghosts rattle their chains at me tonight.
Who am I now, Edward Abbey?