This week, poetry showed up to offer me comfort...to grant me some perspective with its inherent slowing down of time and space. When I read poetry, the world opens up--when I am writing it, the whole universe does. I have been up to both...poetry writing while my cup of tea cools at my side and the sky is, as my oldest child called it, a bowlful of spilled-sugar stars...poetry reading long after I should be asleep, legs curled up beneath me--listening to the fearful thrum of the last crickets' desperate trembling. It has become a state where everything is poetry to me. I think in couplets and breathe in broken verse...in my life right now, I find that I am deeply rooted in a place of "not-knowing"--of fear.
I am reading poems from writers who used to scare me off a bit--fierce academic poets, old pantheon men I tend to shy away from. Revisiting the textbooks to find once cherished treasures so-readily forgotten in recent years...ones like this:
From The Waste Land
by T.S. Eliot
I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD
APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm' aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the archduke's,
My cousin's, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
My own writing from this week is just too raw to share today, even with the generous and talented community of Poetry Thursday--which has been placed in a bit of an unknown state as well. This leaves those of us who have opened up ourselves to poetry (at least) one day a week to be members of the traveling poetry show for now, a wonderful gypsy adventure. Still, I think of what a gift this is, truly, what a revolution, to commit to poetic Thursdays as we all have over the past year and beyond...if only we could get everyone else out there to indulge in poems once a week, what a world this would be! So, it is my hope that this road show will continue to move forward, landing wherever it needs to land, taking all of us right along with it. Speaking of which...next week, on September 13th, our vagabond words will travel over to Carolee's blog: The Polka Dot Witch, where we will leave our links in response to the (as always) "completely and totally optional" idea.
Which is what exactly, you say? For this upcoming week, here it goes: Confront The Fear. Is there a form that frightens you? Try it. Does the idea of submitting a piece of your writing to a publication make your heart pound? Go for it anyway and be sure to share about it. Is it time you had a creative "coming-out" with that friend of yours or the boss at work? Give them one of your poems to read, go ahead...I dare you! Is reading aloud what makes you weak in the knees? Find a group to read to and face that anxiety head-on. Are you apprehensive about reading certain poets...crack the spine on that book anyway and see what lessons might be waiting for you there. Maybe your vice is perfectionism, defeat that fright by trying something like this intrepid soul did in her post here by setting up a spontaneous (poetry) writing booth (Natalie Goldberg-style) and creating poems on demand for curious strangers. If this idea is scaring you off, perhaps you could take inspiration from the line from T.S. Eliot's poem above, "I can show you fear in a handful of dust" and write about what you fear...or, why not? Go ahead and scare us with some chilling lines of your own. Take this idea anywhere you like, as long as you continue to share poetry this week...to me, the only truly terrifying thing would be if you forgot to do that!
But first, be sure to leave a comment here about what you've done with the "free-for-all" week of poetry, now passed. Happy (Poetry) Thursday, everyone...
***Finally, just so I do not feel like one of those "bad" hostesses who purses her thin lips at the rowdy dinner guests and doesn't indulge in any of the metrical-fun, if you are truly in dire need of reading my poetry today (a-hem), you can go here, where two of my poems were published this week..."An Offering" and "Liquid Heart", hot off the presses...now back to that merriment, all of you. I insist.***