and inside the mask
a faint whiff of grease
from this morning’s eggs
stepping out, he finds
the outdoors secure,
still, in its greatness
the sea still open
the sky limitless
the sky, the limit
the sky, off limits.
Brendan’s post over at earthweal (https://earthweal.com/2020/06/22/earthweal-weekly-challenge-culture-and-nature/ ) asks us to write about “the intersection of culture and nature”. He asks:
” How do you see yourself as a poet of culture and nature?”
Well, I have never considered myself a poet of nature. I have to come at it sideways. Here is a poem about the intersection of pop culture and nature.
Jerry Seinfeld takes a walk in the park and writes a haiku
Why, when dogs chase birds,
do we see optimism
“If your life’s work were assembled in one silo, who would it feed?”
Well, I think my life’s work so far, could probably be served as a light snack and I’m happy with that. I am not particularly ambitious. Stephen Hawkins wrote “The Theory of Everything”. I would be happy writing “The Theory of a Few Things”. I read an interview with Leonard Cohen in which he spoke of tending to his garden. He implied modestly that his garden was small but that he took good care of it. He was talking of course of his particular talent and, I think, of how one should take care of what one is good at, know your talent (big or small, major or minor) and cultivate it.
Brendan asks “What is a well-made thing?”
(You really should read Brendan’s post, he poses a lot of questions, and is, as always informative and erudite)
When I first started writing poetry, I wrote mostly free verse. Then when I started blogging, I became more aware of short verse forms, in particular, the haiku and the tanka. I see poetry as being similar to sculpture or wood carving, whereas novel writing is more like architecture. The poet takes a large slab of words or a tree stump of words and whittles it down to a small well-made thing. When writing short poems I find a form is useful. I can’t really write traditional haiku. I can’t summon the required ineffability and the results end up po-faced, self-conscious, weighed down by solemnity. But I do like the arbitrary restriction or the discipline, for example, all the lines in the first poem above contain 5 syllables. I read a book of poems recently by Paula Meehan, the Irish Poet, in which every poem contains nine lines and every line contains nine syllables and amazingly she does this without making it obvious (the name of the book is “Geomantic”). Anyway, here is one more attempt at a well-made thing, and yes, nature is involved.
one swallow does not
one tries to swallow one’s pride
one swallow does not
when it comes to (what else?) Spring
one swallow does not do it.