Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Poetry Thursday (Blue)


LIE, I TELL THEM

Be courageous, bizarre; be crazy
I don't mean roll into the aisles,
but be on another planet; walk on
stilts from here to Peru.
This isn't like math; there's
never a right answer. "Does
it have to rhyme?" "Do we
we have to write it out, or just
think about it?" The room is loud
as a shore the tide's crashing up on to.
On one side of the accordion wall,
blur of a documentary on Nixon's
last days. On the other,
Woodworking 102, sawing and hammering.
For me, writing would be like trying
to sleep in a house of straw
that tidal waves pound on, sucking what
held it loose. So when I read:

Blue is Dahlia's eyes, the Monday
before Cropsy Creek gulped her
and Blue is rage, choking like a
cat's too tight collar, digging
into blood and fur; and Blue, my
father's veins bulging from wrists
and forehead when he beats us,
I'm as startled as by abalone
when the sea pulls out.

--Lyn Lifshin

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9 comments:

Tammy said...

Very thought provoking!

paris parfait said...

Fascinating poem! A little scary. Beautiful abalone shell photo.

wendylou who? said...

a masterful poem.

twitches said...

Interesting poem. Or rather, a poem within a poem, with an unusual narrator.

Tongue in Cheek Antiques said...

the pearl is there. where it is not suppose to be.

Tongue in Cheek Antiques said...

such sorrow in the painful poem. Such fear it stirred in me.

Deb R said...

Wow, that's fascinating. It starts out so whimsically and then turns so dark as it works down to the poem within the poem. Very startling!

Earth Monkey said...

interesting... the format is so unique and the journey if quite unexpected.

(thanks for visiting my blog!)

Maureen said...

Pepek, this poem is incredibly powerful -- I'm late getting over here, but so glad I did. I can totally relate to the poet, Lifshin's story here, the way children startle us with the depth of their perceptions, the power of their young insights. So many adults think of children as innocent, pure, untainted, yet there they are, reaching into the short depths of their lives and pulling out poetic utterings like the ones in the last stanza of this poem. They are innocent, but not in the sense of unblemished spirits. This teacher/narrator who urges the students to be courageous, crazy, bizarre ... she/he gets exactly that -- courageous, honest, painful truth that might have been easier just to "think about" instead of "writ(ing) it out"

whoah! this one hit me like a tidal wave too. I have been there -- in the desk of a student being asked to write my deepest pain ... and in the shoes of a teacher trying to support the honesty of 30+ widely different and wildly beautiful students.

thanks for sharing this. I'm off to see what else I can find of Lifshin's work.
maureen