Tuesday, March 30, 2010

From where I come

"A poem needs understanding through the senses. The point of diving into a lake is not immediately to swim to the shore but to be in the lake, to luxuriate in the sensation of water. You do not work the lake out; it is an experience beyond thought. Poetry soothes and emboldens the soul to accept the mystery."--From the movie Bright Star, spoken by John Keats' character

Sometimes, I wish I could remember this description while trying to explain my fondness for poetry to others.

This is one of my favorite poems.

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me,i and
my life will shut very beautifully,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands 

ee cummings

I gave this poem to my husband once, and since he's a science-minded fellow, I don't think he particularly understood it.  But, the thing is, it's more about being in the poem, staying in the moment.  It's somewhat nonsensical, but at the same time, it makes perfect sense.  It's not so much literal, but requires Emily Dickinson's sensation: "If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry."  You have to think about it while not thinking about it.

Say the idea is a fly, zooming around my head; I get it, I feel it, it makes sense, it's right there--but it's just far enough that I'm reaching to understand or grasp its sentiments.  That, and it's one of those things where I don't mind the fly zooming and zooming around; perhaps I would be bored if it stopped too easily.

This is why I love ee cummings.  His poetry isn't easy or predictable.  It makes just enough sense, and after that, I make what I want of it.  I think this poem excites me, too, because I get it.  I really do. 

And to my husband:  "nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands"

Tonight, I'm going to eat some ice cream, work on some photos, and hang out with my blue-eyed boy (my dog).  Housband will be out of town at a soccer game, so we're partying on our own.  How's THAT for a Tuesday night?

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