Wednesday, December 14, 2005

love and poetry

Sonnet XVII (100 Love Sonnets, 1960)

I don't love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as certain dark things are loved,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn't bloom and carries
hidden within itself the light of those flowers,
and thanks to your love, darkly in my body
lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you simply, without problems or pride:
I love you in this way because I don't know any other way of loving

but this, in which there is no I or you,
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.


Last night a finally got the opportunity to dig into a new (ish) book of poetry. This is only because after 2 days of me drinking nothing but tea and broth my family finally noticed at dinner last night I had been in pJs for two days. No one had noticed I'd been sick since they'd all been fed on time, clothes washed etc. So as a 'treat' I got half an hour to sit down while the dishes were 'washed'. Ah, a little Chopin and Neruda - almost cured me on the spot. But what struck me first was a few paragraphs that were included in the introduction - titled

"Some Thoughts On Impure Poetry"

here is part of it -

"Worn surfaces, the wear inflicted by human hands, the sometimes tragic, always pathetic, emanation from these objects (useful, everyday objects) give reality a magnetism that should not be scorned.

"Man's nebulous impurity can be perceived in them.....the mark of a hand or a foot, the
constansty of the human presence that permeates every surface.

"This is the poetry we are seeking, corroeded, as if by acid, by the labours of man's hand,
pervaded by sweat and smoke, reeking of urine and of lilies soiled by diverse professions in and outside the law.

"A poetry as impure as a suit or a body, a poetry stained by food and shame, a poetry with

wrinkles, observations, dreams, waking, prophecies, declarations of love and hatred, beasts, blows, idylls, manifestos, denials, doubts, affirmations, taxes.

".......the degrees of touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing, the desire for justice and sexual desire, the sound of the ocean, nothing deliberately excluded, a plunge into unplumbed depths in an excess of ungovernable love ..... with the scars of teeth and ice, a poetry slightly consumed by sweat and war....."

So this is poetry, and also love I think. Its the poetry I'd like to be able to write. And maybe in about 10years, I'll consider love, but right now its the kind of poetry I'd like to write - with my wrinkles, my feelings striped raw, caressed with my hands, tasted in my mouth carved from my soul....

maybe one day - love... naaaahhh.....
I think I will stick to writing about it.

he's all yours honey.

As Calvin, in my daughter's favourite comic book states "Do you think love is nothing but a biochemical reaction designed to make sure our genes get passed on?" of course he has decided to ask this question in the middle of the night to a very tired mother. Her answer? "Whatever it is, it's all that's keeping me from strangling you right now." Not too reassuring, but being a mother of three often true (don't tell my kids will you?). Love is such a complex thing, I have a friend who is very fond of saying it is merely the opposite of hate, but I disagree, I think appathy is their opposite. Love, hate, anger, passion all these strong emotions seem to come together- where as happy, sad, bummed out, bored do as well. Recently I decided that not all people experience emotions, life, even the taste of food on the level I do - that had never occurred to me before. I had always been dumbfounded by those who could (apparently) live these happy shallow lives, have conversations about basically nothing, eat bland food and still they seem happy - obviously it was ME who didn't fit with this picture. So I made nice. For about 15 years, but it didn't work too well, parts of me would keep popping out demanding attention (never could I completely be asssimaleted - constant foot in mouth). So I'm almost out now - almost, my mum won't like it, and likely others as well. Ah well to quote one of my favourites....
"Be yourself everyone else is already taken" ~~Oscar Wilde

So its a life of poetic love now? Is this the ultimate? I hear the term bantered about, and have never quite under stood it. Somehow it seems viewed as a higher ideal. But if I want to write poetry corroeded, as if by acid, poems pervaded by sweat and smoke, reeking of urine and of lilies, poetry stained by food and shame, poetry with wrinkles, observations, dreams, waking, prophecies, declarations of love and hatred, beasts, blows, idylls, manifestos, denials, and doubts.. where exactly does that put me poetic love wise? I remain concerned, and confused by the term. (no definition seems to exsist either) - I think I better just skip the poetic love part as well - sounds slightly dangerous...

Now why I feel I must go on about love now is beyond me, rereading too many old favourites maybe, getting separated, swearing off men for the rest of my life? (that could be it). Perhaps I am turning it into an intellectual exercise to somehow take it from myself and put it down in words, in poetry, and then I really could be free of it... worth a go. I'm sure you've guessed by the picture what I've been rereading - at least going over my favourite parts (all marked in pencil - some librarian's child I turned out to be). I first read it when I was 15 (that book long gone, read it to death) and even then was struck by Catherine's description of her love of Heathcliff ~
"because he is more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same; ... my great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff's miseries, and I watched and felt each one from the beginning; my great thought in living is himself. If all else perished and he remained, I should still continue to be; and all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger; ..... my love for Lindton is like the foliage in the woods... My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath - source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He is always, always in my mind- not a pleasure any more than I am a pleasure to myself, but my own being."
I think if we could get over the idea that a lover is
suppose to be a source of daily delight, some sort of romantic servant - thank you television for setting the most ridiculous standards - people could be happier. But what do I know? (look at my record) AND I'm a sucker for romantic movies (good ones - according to me of course) - Like Sense and Sensiblity, An Affair to Remember, love Last of the Mohicans for several reasons, A Walk on the Moon, Bridges of Madison County, Romeo & Juliette (lastest one with all the guns) and Wuthering Heights. Looking back at this list - not one has that story book happy ending, what does that say about me?

But a love like Catherine's and Heathcliff's - that's something, no simmpering, just essential love.

or perhaps it's Calvin who's right,
" love is nothing but a biochemical reaction designed to make sure our genes get passed on?"


Kathleen Callon said...

Love is everything. Nice post, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Callooh said...

Yes, absolutely! that could be a whole other post! love of trees, clouds, air, grass, dirt and worms, the birds in my feeders, strangers hands and eyes - okay stopping my self now.
- everything is love -
- and everything is only now (which is what I'm sort of working on now)
happy new year to you too, and thanks for reading it...

Kathleen Callon said...

Isn't it funny how we're never sick? But when they are our whole world stops and revolves around them? When it happens, it doesn't make me sad or mad, it makes me feel like I'm doing a good job... well, usually anyway.

I choked on my tea when I read your improvised quotes. She doesn't have a stable boy, but she has a stable of boys.

Hope you're all better. Peace.


Kathleen Callon said...

Whenever I look at this post I sigh... Viggo.... anyway, I just looked at the books in your profile, and I'm going to check out a few them when I get the chance. Have you heard of Madeleine Peyroux? I'm listening to her CD right now... I think you'd probably love it.

Hope you're fairing well in the arctic tundra (just kidding... I bet it's beautiful). Peace.


Callooh said...

I no longer live in Canada... was just writing a comment on a friend's blog who is in Belgium about Northern Ontario and the stars and northern lights we could see, especially in winter... they were something. In just outside of Chicago now in your country. The dessert I hear (from a friend who live there) is incredibly beauiful, but I can't handle that kind of heat, must be my canandian blood...
ha ha.... I'm flattered you're interested in my book list - I would recomment Barbara Kingsolver first - Prodical Summer, Poison Woodbible, or one of her many set in New Mexico...

and Viggo.... sigh.... have you seen that movie??? SIGH! GLUP!

Callooh said...

eekk spelling Poisonwood Bible, more
coffee please...

Kathleen Callon said...

VIGGO is in a class by himself. Thinking of him makes me feel guilty because he makes me feel so giddy.

Kathleen Callon said...

By that movie, you must mean "Man on the Moon"? The hand slipping down had to be one of the all time hottest moments caught on film. The waterfall scene...

Callooh said...

Its a Walk on the Moon -

oh Viggo, I personally liked the first
night in the trailer....

have you read any of his poetry?

I should do a Viggo page - but that might be abit TOO much.... ;-)