Saturday, February 11, 2012

Poem In Your Post: Improvisation on Lines by Isaac the Blind


Improvisation on Lines by Isaac the Blind    

Only by sucking, not by knowing,
can the subtle essence be conveyed—
sap of the word and the world's flowing

that raises the scent of the almond blossoming,
and yellows the bulbul in the olive's jade.
Only by sucking, not by knowing.

The grass and oxalis by the pines growing
are luminous in us—petal and blade—
as sap of the word and the world's flowing;

a flicker rising from embers glowing;
light trapped in the tree's sweet braid
of what it was sucking. Not by knowing

is the amber honey of persimmon drawn in.
An anemone piercing the clover persuades me—
sap of the word and the world is flowing

across separation, through wisdom's bestowing,
and in that persuasion choices are made:
But only by sucking, not by knowing
that sap of the word through the world is flowing.

-           Peter Cole 

I’ve grown fascinated with the incantatory powers of the villanelle lately.  How meaning shifts and slides through its cadences and sonorities, how images collage and morph and nudge each other as they cascade down toward its final couplet. 

I like the surprise of this one’s ideas and that first slightly uncomfortable line that then repeats into familiarity and clarity.  What do you think of Cole’s offering here, his exploration of how words and sensory experience interact?

I’m also in a springtime mood, and this one seems to complement the blissful intensity of this warm, clear morning in the Pacific Northwest…

What are you reading or writing, poetry-wise, this week?  Share it with us in the comments or by link to your post.

MFB,
L

2 comments:

Parrish Lantern said...

Confusion - Erich Fried

To love each other
in a time
when people kill each other
with better and better weapons
and let each other starve to death
And to know
that we can do little about it
and try
not to be blunted
And still
love each other

To love each other
and let each other starve to death
To love each other and know
that one can do little about it
To love each other
and try not to be blunted
To love each other
and with time
kill each other
And yet love each other
with better and better weapons

(trans:Stuart Hood)

http://parrishlantern.blogspot.com/2012/02/heart-in-reality.html?m=1

Laurie said...

Wow: PL, such a dramatic and hauntingly true offering. Thank you.

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