Friday, August 29, 2014

I Wish I'd Written This

Mince Meet
By "mood wings"

No one mints me in candy tar, except you—
deceased taint tampers via simple laryngitis.
Dearest Equestrian Bank—undo my stamp;
tamper with fire beneath lava's language play.

The peach stamen of the moon 
dines on a ploy of pi in my carnal jurisdiction.
Orience has put severance in fraud—
recipe for a dead flower.

Polonia codes pee asthenia.
In preamble to pajamas, gallbladders try anything,
calculating our steam for Pheme.
Puce America—clandestine without genes.

Neck-Eden is my guru. Can't you ... for me?
Sigh Nietzsche. Cone-unsag a simulator; curve (eventually)
sinister mice. The paramecium ride is raw— 
nuts, tools, Burroughs, Pietà, Avant-Yule.

No one mints me in candy tar, except you—
deceased taint tampers via simple laryngitis,
dearest. Equestrian, bank-undo Myst amp; 
tamper with fire beneath lava's language play.

Vision and disinterest are my prison doors.
Latency pulls the berries offered 
by Paradise and Caesar. Art puts sea fairies                 
inside Nicodemus's piñata of favored ignorance.


Good heavens, what have I given you this time? Sound poetry? Abstract poetry? Free association? Not quite.

This poem was written in response to a very recent prompt at dVerse Poets Pub.  We were invited to try homophonic translation (which I also know by the term translitics) i.e. turning the sounds of a poem in an unknown language into words in our own language.

Here is a link to the original and its real English translation, on the prompter's own blog.

There were some amazingly clever attempts, most of which managed to make some kind of sense. Some were surprisingly coherent and several were quite beautiful.  A couple were even fairly close in meaning to the original. (I couldn't resist having a go, but was very short of time, so my own efforts remained pretty weird, lol.) You can check them all out here if you're interested.

So why is this the one I wish I'd written? As you may have realised by now, I have a quirky sense of humour. This one tickled my funny-bone with such deliciously serious-sounding meaninglessness as, "Cone-unsag a simulator", "gallbladders try anything", "a ploy of pi in my carnal jurisdiction", and above all, "No one mints me in candy tar, except you". How could anyone not fall in love with that line? (Damn! I want to be minted in candy tar too.) And then, "the peach stamen of the moon" sounds so beautiful, I am seduced into thinking I can visualise it exactly.

The apparent seriousness includes some scholarly references. "Mood wings" adds a note:

A little light reading, if you're at all intrigued:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piet%C3%A0_(Michelangelo)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_S._Burroughs
http://orienceintegration.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puce
http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/asthenia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pheme
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polonia

The poet was happy to give me permission to use the piece. However she protects her privacy even on her blogs, so I am unable to tell you her name or show you a photo.  This, from her poetry blog, perhaps says it all:



But she generously allowed me to share some quite personal details about her life and her poetics, and she includes the links to her blogs, at one of which you might catch more of her poetry — if you're quick! I am quoting verbatim from her email, as I'm sure I couldn't paraphrase it so engagingly:

Well, you can say I've gone by many names on many blogs that pop up and disappear just as quickly. You can say I'm a busy mother of four who homeschools. (My kids are ages 11, 6, 4, and 6 months; my husband and I have 3 girls and 1 boy ... he's the baby.) 

You can say that I love library books, word play, poetry, philosophy, quotes, art, candles, and music. Some of my "likings" and musings can be found at chalkpetals.blogspot.com. At herthursday.blogspot.com, I offer original poetry (temporarily, at least; I don't keep them live for long ... nor do I ever publish) ... and also prompts. Picture prompts are on Tuesdays, and Word Prompts are on Thursdays.

Also, if you like, you can say that I hate my poetry the day after I write it and can't stand the thought of anyone being able to read it once it's crossed over into the category of "disgustingly terrible poetry." My greatest passion then becomes an embarrassment. That's why I'm always and ever "deleting myself."

I guess we can all relate to that feeling of embarrassment at our "disgustingly terrible poetry". I know I can. As I told her in reply, there are some of mine which, immediately after writing, I recognise as THE most wonderful poem ever written by anyone anywhere ever. But, like the rest, a few days later they become atrocious things I should never have let anyone else see. It takes longer to arrive at an objective assessment. Indeed, can we ever be completely objective about our own work, or is it only others who can see it clearly enough?

I expect you may want to urge her not to discard her writings entirely even though she deletes them from her blog. Don't worry, I have already expressed that opinion to her! But in the end they are her poems, to do with as she will.

What I think is most wonderful is the human impulse to creativity, which makes us continue to write, to craft our work, to give it life in the world for however long or short a time. People who are not poets think poetry is a form of self-expression. It is that, of course; but we know it is, above all, our art.

The Buddhist monks make elaborate sand pictures which they then erase. Natalie Goldberg suggested that poets setting up "spontaneous writing" booths give away the poems they write for other people, keeping no copies  — again, in a Zen spirit of letting go. My friend Phillip put a whole notebook of poems, of which he had no other copies, into his brother's coffin. His sister was horrified to think of the poems being lost. "She didn't understand," he told me.

I don't have that bigness of heart myself, or that non-attachment, to send my poems back into the void — and "mood wings" is not doing so in a Buddhist spirit — but still, it's a valid option.  And although I don't discard every poem I produce, I do discard quite a lot.

Perfectionism is an enemy in most areas of life. It can undermine our self-esteem; at its worst it can paralyse us. Poetry is the one area where I allow myself to be perfectionist. Getting it absolutely as good as I can does matter. I usually keep poems that aren't working for a long time, tinkering and rewriting, but with some I eventually face the fact that nothing's ever going to help, and I get rid of them. Others may be filed away for years and when I finally look at them again, my fresh eyes immediately see what will fix them.

The opposite to the Buddhist monks might be Emily Dickinson, keeping her poems despite rejection and her own uncertainty about them — to have them be found and acclaimed after her death.  But if that happens to any of us, we won't be around to know. Better, surely, to live in the here and now and follow the guidance of our hearts, which of course won't be the same for everyone.

Pardon me waxing all philosophical. They are interesting questions, I think. But the poem's the thing, and I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do.

P.S. Now, after all that hifalutin speculation, I just received another email explaining that she does keep her poems, just not publicly. After a short while she puts the poems back into "draft" on her blog so that she can edit them later when she's more objective.  I admit, I'm glad!


Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).

12 comments:

  1. Hahaha! Sorry I missed your poem at dVerse, Mood Wings. I never read them all there as I am so slow. The poems on my blog are temporary posted as well--though I am thinking of leaving Poetry Pantry poems here now since I've become part of the team. And doesn't Rosemary write marvelous essays? This one is no exception, as she helps us see into your poem and spreads her wisdom. (Thank you, Rosemary.) Once again, she picked a poem that I too, wish I had written. Thank you.

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  2. I am in awe of her work ~ She is very talented writer though she disappears and appears now & then ~ Thanks for sharing Rosemary ~

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    1. I'm glad to know she has a devoted following among her peers. :)

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  3. Thank you, ladies. It's such an honor to be featured. You humble me.

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  4. I'm with you, Rosemary, I archive!!!!! "Attachment, attachment, attachment." But I do love the reference to Buddhist monks and their sand art. Intriguing poet and poem you offer us this Friday. I enjoyed her quite coherent response to the prompt.

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    1. Apart from anything else, it is sometimes illuminating to look back through my old poems to remind myself of where I've been.

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  5. Well, I do keep all of the poems I blog really, but I also know that - if I put out another hard copy book - there are some that I would not include! (And even the 'best' of my poetry might be revised before publication when I inspect it with an editor's eye.) I look upon my poetry at this time as my trail through life, and I guess if anyone is interested at some future point they can follow it. For the most part, right now, I am just having fun with poetry. I am not really writing for posterity, but if some of my poems someday have meaning for someone, that will be a good thing. If not, it will have been a fun journey. (Smiles.)

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    1. I think that's a great attitude, Mary. Let's above all keep doing it for the love of it! There is no better reason. Posterity will have to take care of posterity; we can't second-guess it. Events on the planet sometimes suggest it may not go on very long into the future anyway. :( We are always really writing for "now" whether we realise that or not. Ha! after reading a notebook full of my poems, someone once described it as 'a sort of poetic diary'. That was nearly 50 years ago, and it's still true. *Wry grin.*

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  6. Food for thought... without thinking
    ZQ

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  7. I have followed this incredible poet for several years now, through her many reincarnations and names. Simply put, I adore her. Nobody, but nobody, plays with language like this girl. Nobody. Reading her, and communing with her, is essential to my poetical health.

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    1. For me she is a recent find, but I so agree with you. I LOVE her wordplay.

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