Stories and poems

"The metaphoric image of 'orphan lines' is a contrivance of the detached onlooker to whom the verbal art of continuous correspondences remains aesthetically alien. Orphan lines in poetry of pervasive parallels are a contradiction in terms, since whatever the status of a line, all its structure and functions are indissolubly interlaced with the near and distant verbal environment, and the task of linguistic analysis is to disclose the levels of this coaction. When seen from the inside of the parallelistic system, the supposed orphanhood, like any other componential status, turns into a network of multifarious compelling affinities.'
Roman JAKOBSON, "Grammatical Parallelism and its Russian Facet", Language, 42/2, 1966, pp. 399-429, p. 428-429

Thursday, March 6, 2014

What Power Art Thou

When the spring energy comes and the birds start to sing in the early morning, before the spring is really here, I wake up at 5, 6 o'clock in the morning. Sometimes I try to get back to sleep, but I usually can't. Lots to write, or read, or think about. Everything is active in my mind. Dream residue. First lines of other people's poems come: The force that through the green fuse drives the flower. My heart is alive too, in a gentler way. It asks the questions, sometimes shows me the way.

I like to be alive in the morning. One can't help but ask what is this power, this force that comes back again.

I think of the Purcell opera King Arthur and Dryden's words, the mountain waking up to love.
It is also called The Cold Song. Klaus Nomi sang it.

What power art thou, who from below
Hast made me rise unwillingly and slow
From beds of everlasting snow
See’st thou not, how stiff, how stiff, and wondrous old
Far unfit to bear the bitter cold,
I can scarcely move or draw my breath,
can scarcely move or draw my breath
Let me, let me freeze again to death.

Purcell died of TB at the age of 36. That's how old I'll be soon. Dryden lived to be 68.

I wrote this poem in response to those lines at this time of year last year. I wanted to hear Cupid, the new life of spring, and what he would say to the Cold Genius. I was thinking of a mountain I wanted to wake up.

What Power Art Thou

Here I am again, Cupid.
You're the mountain who won't wake up,
Genius. You're clever
or at least you think so.
No, you're asleep, and humble.

I'm silencing my mind,
trying to be more like you
but still I want you to wake up.

It's raining now, not snowing, you don't want to freeze.
You want to come to all this joy.
Though it's juvenile and you're not, it isn't below you.
Sure, you're tall, like a mountain, so you're used to looking down,

but don't. There must be some way
we could see eye to eye. Your heart
could then melt, you could wake up,
catch me, all wings and flutter, young and warm and
I'd accept the slow movement of your thawing limbs.

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