Poetry Challenge 65

We are well into the season of light here in the Interior.   Everywhere, the sun intensifies the whiteness of snow, or gleams off the slick patches of ice still on the road since November’s ice storm.  The air is warm during the day–or warm for us, in the 40s.   On the south-facing sides of snowbanks, the light is carving away the packed snow into the shape of a wave, arching and crashing slowly, in one-frame-at-a-time stop animation, into summer still months away.

Today I heard MFA student Eddie Kim present his poetry thesis and thought about how his poems both invited the reader, like the March sun does, and kept the reader at a distance, like the ice patches, or the below zero nights.   A poem lures us in then pushes us back, surprises us, or challenges us.  Do we make the meaning for the reader?  Is the meaning only in what the reader brings to the poem?  Or like  sun on snow, do we carve a new shape, a new vision for the reader so imperceptibly that he or she is moved without even knowing why or how?

Write about something that moves you and something that pushes you back.  Write about something beautiful in something unlovely.  Write about the profound in the ordinary.

Post it as a comment and I’ll add it to this post.

——————————

Here’s a poem from Greg at 21st Romantic:

Makeup

She paints herself
in long lines
and short punctuations of color, swings
open drawers, blasts

the hairdryer through her
thick black hair, hair as heavy
as night, not like
the light fluff

of shadows. Her lancing–so
purposeful, so
crafted, as if
appearance could be everything

in Art–pricks a
question: how much
does appearance matter
to an Artist? Is she

like a cook
protecting a secret ingredient?
The same ingredient mothers
stir in potatoes? And so what

more could he offer her, then? As he
drapes his arms over her
shoulders like two long, white locks
of hair, curling; both faces

reflect in her vanity
mirror, smiling. What was the man guarding
when he instructed her, “look at the us that we
will never be”?

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3 Responses to “Poetry Challenge 65”

  1. Jamie Smith Says:

    Your post touches on my recent “supermoon” experience over here in Maine. We headed to a deserted cove with a sand beach tucked in between rocky cliffs out on the island. When the moon rose, and we were sitting on some boulders by the shore, and all my attention kept getting drawn instead to what affect the *light* of the full moon was having upon our surroundings. In particular, the stark contrast of how absolutely, infinitely BLACK the ocean now appeared.

    Sitting there being lulled under by the enveloping sound of waves and yet caught up against a palatable fear of that deep, unforgiving cold reminded me of so many times entranced by the aurora while standing outside at forty-something below. Witnessing raw, primal beauty when one is both immersed in, but still barely held apart from the immediate, unforgiving environment, separated by a moment, always makes me feel more acutely aware of where I’m at. It’s scary, but nothing’s actually *happening* – like being suspended between “wow” and “oh shit.”
    And then I usually have to pee really bad.

  2. mattiespillow Says:

    That’s why Alaskan outhouses don’t have doors…

  3. Greg Lyons Says:

    Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend Eddie’s thesis defense, so I don’t know if this is in line with the subject matter. But here’s my attempt at the challenge–albeit, not much of nature is in it.

    Makeup

    She paints herself
    in long lines
    and short punctuations of color, swings
    open drawers, blasts

    the hairdryer through her
    thick black hair, hair as heavy
    as night, not like
    the light fluff

    of shadows. Her lancing–so
    purposeful, so
    crafted, as if
    appearance could be everything

    in Art–pricks a
    question: how much
    does appearance matter
    to an Artist? Is she

    like a cook
    protecting a secret ingredient?
    The same ingredient mothers
    stir in potatoes? And so what

    more could he offer her, then? As he
    drapes his arms over her
    shoulders like two long, white locks
    of hair, curling; both faces

    reflect in her vanity
    mirror, smiling. What was the man guarding
    when he instructed her, “look at the us that we
    will never be”?

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