re: Sergio F Lima's poem Unfinished Landscape
What I’ve done to your poem is not a suggestion to change your poem, which has a beautiful sound to it as it is and makes the excursion more of a discovery for me as a reader. I’m leaving my terrible tweaking as a way of sharing how I went about it and of showing what and how I was thinking as I read it. In short, a prop for my comments. No offense.
in this family has ever died of love. << strong opening!
Their grief turned into smiles, their days flew fast (even stronger,
and they vanished without a causa mortis quick, and unapologetic
or two coins to cross the Styx. realism)
In the kitchen (how things are left pending)
an open baking soda stands next to a handwritten book of recipes,
A calendar hangs on the wall, a red circle drawn around a Friday in April.
Inside the circle, across its diameter, a reminder
of what may or may not happen - (all the plans cut short)
settle the debt, plan the birthday celebration, take two hours to think,
three hours to laugh. ‘Why not also Venice in the spring?’
and an unquenchable sudden passion, (parallels - life goes on)
the stuff of forbidden dreams? Early morning
(this may be an intrusion from the speaker, starting with Why not Venice)
The narrator seems to have settled in, starting with “Early morning,” switch to present:
the sun crowds in through the windows (“crowds in”-imposing, force of life)
and warms up palazzi and colonnades that are strong enough
to take the load of human fate. To lovers lining up
(“colonnades” seems to refer to persons who live in a fancy place:
“palazzi.” “Strong enough to take the load of human fate” — like stone/marble..)
I love the ending, which also goes back to the Styx at the beginning of the poem..
……………………. “To lovers lining up
for a romantic gondola ride, a caveat:
the gondolier will sing a song or two, if paid extra
there and then.
Some of my own personal reaction:
—The “fast” and “vanish” beginning made me think of our holographic nature, of ’now we are here, now we are not.’
—In my parents’ closet, I found a calendar with notations, red circles, all having to do with my mother’s last two weeks; not quite spelled out.
—“Friday” and “April” made me think of death as the joker, Friday the 13th,
and April, “the cruelest month.” In contrast to the mention of spring, which reminds me of Easter. The mention of spring followed by that of “passion.”
Venice being a sadly deteriorating place for much art.
—The ‘suddenness’ of the ‘passion’ points to a ‘vacation’ kind of love encounter. In other words, the poem develops at more than one level, which makes it quite interesting. The lovers now in the gondola and the realism of the money for the song, along with the end of a vacation romance that parallels the end of life and crossing the river..
—The “Nobody” by itself as a header reminded me of one of Lorca’s poem,
Ciudad Sin Sueńo (Sleepless City): “Nobody, nobody. Nobody sleeps.”
Ironically, I had not thought of Lorca’s poem when I wrote a poem that includes, “Nobody. Nobody..” Your poem also reminded me to tweak my poem and drop the exception that originally followed.
—“the colonnades” - in retrospect, how strong we must be to carry out
all that must be taken care of; how could we have been like marble columns; how were we able to postpone grieving, to push aside our terrible grief. I felt horrible about this and a friend of mine said, “You had no choice, what else could you have done..” But the crumbling down happens later and the missing of our loved one never ends.. The light does come in and we go on..
My only suggestion is to eliminate “that are” after “colonnades” on the fifth line up from the ending.
I have thoroughly enjoyed your poem. It is full of psychological insight and bluntly depicts various ways in which matters are handled. Every time I read it, I got more out of it, as it should be. I like that its wonderful caprice begins to ooze the simplicity which you mention in one of your responses to comments. It is zealous and doesn’t readily give itself away; this is a plus that this poem calls for and possesses. I feel like somewhat of an intruder for doing as I did. Again, no offense intended.