March 21, 2008

Poetry Friday: The Fragile Act of Creation

Point of Departure

tongue-tied, she sculpts little numbers, bits of alphabet

feels the language out in air gone thick and malleable

as clay or mud, as the breathiness of meringue

what she wants is control though she doesn't like to admit this

(not ladylike) what she wants is to name everything

petiole: stalk attaching leaf to stem

verso: left-hand page of manuscript

she invents names sometimes--or similes anyway

explaining and explaining, drafting new rules of order

like a morning of miserable phone calls, which is different from

the clean pain of a paper cut on the tongue

punctilio: a fine point of etiquette (ladylike)

she wants control--like the carpenter, not the architect

she wants the house to fit the cosmos buzzing inside her left hemisphere

she wants the baseboard to fit exactly the angle between floor and wall

no unexplained spaces, 90 degrees--there's a close miracle in that

the click click of wood fitting against wood, yes, like that

a pleasurable green--color of newborn aphids

she wants everything named and simple, everything simple

everything named with shapes that open up, willing to be understood

(she feels ridiculous wanting this, tongue-tied and green)

fortitude: the moment between this breath and, yes, the next one



"Petiole"...I really should have one of TadMack's fabulous flower photos to accompany this poem, shouldn't I?? "Point of Departure" comes from Gillian Wegener's collection The Opposite of Clairvoyance from Sixteen Rivers Press. She's local--lives in my town--and much of her poetry is about nature, birds, seasons, interactions with others--the small things of life that are also the most important. Her poems are so visual, too, but this one in particular I keep coming back to again and again, thinking about the myriad of reasons why I write, why I draw...

Anyway, I've really been wanting to contribute something for Poetry Friday, and I've been so intimidated because not only am I not a poet but I'm in no way nearly as poetry-literate as many of the participants. Still, Wegener's poetry speaks to me so strongly that I wanted to share one. (And I might share another at some point!!) More fantastic poems can be found at Wild Rose Reader.

7 comments:

TadMack said...

OOh. This one reminds me of the act of writing. WOW. Naming things, sculpting them, making the malleable and workable and trying to breathe through the process. Lovely.

And puh-lease on being poetry-literate. You know how much I've become literate just from doing this? It means I read more now, which is a good thing!

Kelly said...

Let me just add to Tanita's Puh-lease!! That's the whole point of Poetry Friday. Share what you love...when you feel like it :)

What a wonderful poem, btw.

Sara said...

Yeah, what they said! In fact, a self-professed non-poetry geek's selection has even more weight to it, since, you know, it takes a wallop of a poem (like this one) to get you to post! :) Puh-lease: more.

And teeny confession: I thought you wrote these lines, until I got to the end. It seemed so...you. No wonder you love it.

jama said...

Love this! Beautifully describes process . . . hope you share more of your favorites in the future!

liquidambar said...

Great choice of poem. It's one of those "wish I'd written that . . ."

a. fortis said...

Thanks, guys! I promise to contribute to more Poetry Fridays in the future--in fact, I can see this becoming an addiction...

And thanks, Sara, for the kind words--I wish I could write something this amazing! Maybe there's a poet inside me struggling to get out but smothered by huge swaths of fiction prose...

Cloudscome said...

I thought you wrote it too! The voice is so strong, knowing just what she wants. It's a lovely poem and I can see why you keep coming back to it. So lucky of you to live near her.

And of course I have to add that I too have only just begun to learn poetry; come miles along the way just by trying to keep up with Friday Poetry. I was a lousy English major; wasn't paying attention during class, always day dreaming, and immediately forgot all I might have heard. Horrible to admit it but most all of the best poems are new to me or seem like it... That's what I love about Fridays now.