Tag Archives: love

Words, Wide Night

A great poem by Carol Ann Duffy. Is it possible to describe love with words? She gets close with imagery, motion, and emotion.

Words, Wide Night                                                   Carol Ann Duffy

 

Somewhere on the other side of this wide night
and the distance between us, I am thinking of you.
The room is turning slowly away from the moon.

This is pleasurable. Or shall I cross that out and say
it is sad? In one of the tenses I singing
an impossible song of desire that you cannot hear.

La lala la. See? I close my eyes and imagine the dark hills I would have to cross
to reach you. For I am in love with you

and this is what it is like or what it is like in words.

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Asking for Directions

Linda Gregg is a wonderful poet, but I chose this poem for the storyline. I thought it related well to how one might define what makes a good short story. See the quote below from Sadie Stein:

“A short story, when it’s good, doesn’t draw you into a comforting world; it shakes you up. It’s not … what you want to read before going to sleep: It’s a different kind of intellectual and emotional commitment.”

The poem has wonderful images and disturbing characters and much that is left to decipher and imagine. Those elements in the realm of short stories are golden.

Asking for Directions                                                                       Linda Gregg

 

We could have been mistaken for a married couple

riding on the train from Manhattan to Chicago

that last time we were together. I remember

looking out the window and praising the beauty

of the ordinary: the in-between places, the world

with its back turned to us, the small neglected

stations of our history. I slept across your

chest and stomach without asking permission

because they were the last hours. There was

a smell to the sheepskin lining of your new

Chinese vest that I didn’t recognize. I felt

it deliberately. I woke early and asked you

to come with me for coffee. You said, sleep more,

and I said we only had one hour and you came.

We didn’t say much after that. In the station,

you took your things and handed me the vest,

then left as we had planned. So you would have

ten minutes to meet your family and leave.

I stood by the seat dazed by exhaustion

and the absoluteness of the end, so still I was

aware of myself breathing. I put on the vest

and my coat, got my bag and, turning, saw you

through the dirty window standing outside looking

up at me. We looked at each other without any

expression at all. Invisible, unnoticed, still.

That moment is what I will tell of as proof

that you loved me permanently. After that I was

a woman alone carrying her bag, asking a worker

which direction to walk to find a taxi.

That Half is Almost Gone

This is a great poem for looking at and thinking about assimilation, expectation, and identity.  I began to understand the poem when I explored and found out that peaches originally come from China. Not Georgia or Alabama!

I also wanted a poem that used the page differently.  Here is what the poet says about it:

Marilyn Chin: I like using the page as a “compositional field,” where I could set up a poem as either an internal argument or an argument with the other.

I couldn’t get the right look for the poem on the wordpress page. Here’s a link to how the poem should look:  http://archivio.el-ghibli.org/index.php%3Fid=1&issue=08_33&section=3&index_pos=1&inlingua=t.html

That Half is Almost Gone                            Marilyn Chin

That half is almost gone,

the Chinese half,

the fair side of a peach,

darkened by the knife of time,

fades like a cruel sun.

In my thirtieth year

I wrote a letter to my mother.

I had forgotten the character

for “love.” I remember vaguely

the radical “heart.”

The ancestors won’t fail to remind you

the vital and vestigial organs

where the emotions come from.

But the rest is fading.

                                 A slash dissects in midair,

ai,ai,ai,ai,

more of a cry than a sigh

(and no help from the phoneticist).

You are a Chinese!

My mother was adamant.

You are a Chinese?

My mother less convinced.

Are you not Chinese?

My mother now accepting.

As a cataract clouds her vision,

and her third daughter marries

a Protestant West Virginian

who is “very handsome and very kind.”

The mystery is still unsolved –

the landscape looms

over man. And the gaffer-hatted fishmonger –

sings to his cormorant.

And the maiden behind the curtain

is somebody’s courtesan.

Or, merely Rose Wong’s aging daughter

pondering the blue void.

You are a Chinese – said my mother

who once walked the fields of her dead –

Today, on the 36th anniversary of my birth,

I have problems now

even with the salutation.