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  #11  
Unread 09-13-2020, 06:10 PM
Cally Conan-Davies Cally Conan-Davies is offline
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I'm here, and reading your comments, and moved by them.

The poem happened over two early mornings a couple of days ago, so I'm still taking it in, and can't actually speak about it quite yet. I will soon. I'm just collecting my thoughts. I could tumble into speech if we were all sitting in the same room, but as we are written, I must organise my thinking.

Thank you for what you've given!

Cally
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  #12  
Unread 09-14-2020, 09:38 PM
Cally Conan-Davies Cally Conan-Davies is offline
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Firstly, I want to say to readers who saw harm in the poem and felt an impulse to protect, that, for me, exposure is protection. An instinct I was born with? I don't know. It has always seemed common sense. Later, I learned it's the paradoxical truth of toxicology. Harm is referred to in the poem because there is harm in the world. Actually, I read recently an essay by Robert Fitzgerald, the Homer transator, in The New Yorker archives, where he says "I was no more than eight or nine when it had come home to me that the fate of the breathing person was to be hurt and then annihilated." I relate to that completely. Pain and danger, certainty of death, come with being alive. I think this is very plain to a child. But rather than run away from the facts, I hope this poem shows, through sound and tone and image, that there is a way through the world of harm. We will be harmed by accident, by stupidity, by intent; and being open to the world of pain is a safer and more resilient way than avoiding pain and harm by building defences against it. The latter way often seems to have the opposite effect. My favourite lines from Blakes's Auguries of Innocence speak directly to this: "Man was made for joy and woe / And when this you rightly know / Safely through this World you go".
But it's more than mere physical safety. Through experience of pain, cruelty, injustice, neglect, something within, the soul, can become strong and substantial. And this brings with it a kind of joy of being in the world of pain, because the pain is so closely related to beauty, and peace. The wounded eye sees.

The above is a long way of saying what Nemo said! I just wanted you to know that you can be sure that for the speaker in this poem, there is nothing more deeply felt than the knowledge that everything, everything, is all right. This speaker is not living in fear or threat of harm. This speaker has been hurt, annihilated, into full life.

Gypsy Boy, I'm thinking the following line -- "there's a lot a little poison can do" implies the 'entirely'. It's still there -- the knowledge that a great big dose of anything will kill you. But there are ways of building immunity to events that could destroy one. Immunity isn't numbness. It gives the capacity to withstand bigger doses of the bad thing.

Memsy, what you say is so beautiful. I am so very glad! We see each other. I believe in universal experience, and that the expression of the deeply personal (deeper than 'I') becomes an expression of the universal. And thank you for 'powerful delicacy'! As it was happening, I felt like I was discovering how to speak silently. Like hearing a whisper coming from deep in the earth.

Bill, I hope what I wrote above makes sense! Also, "creaturish" for me is not something terrible. Actually, it's the opposite! I am surrounded by creatures here in the bush, and have always loved wild things. Creatureliness is the closest thing to true home on this earth that I know! I have always thought of myself, as all of us, as creatures. All the creatures, great and small, teach me so much every single day. Mostly, they teach me how to be what I am, a creature, too. One of my favourite short poems is Lawrence's 'Self Pity': "I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself . . ."

Roger, as you say, it is desirable. It's the essence of what we are. As for the soul line, I knew someone might bring it up! Ha! I hear what you say, and understand it. But for now, I think the line does hold its own in this poem. I will keep testing it though. Thanks!

Sharkey - that made me laugh! Verbal fireworks, eh? Boom!! Seriously, I'm so glad this got to you! Funny about the Larkin way of seeing! I am truly grateful every day for the appalling parents I had! I just wouldn't be me if that hadn't happened! I learned SO MUCH.

Nemo. Nemo. Ahh . . .
Silence is my poetic desire. A language for and of silence. And the word you use at the end just went right through me! We've never talked about that word out loud, but it means everything to me! Corinthians 13. It's mostly translated as 'love' now, which is such a broad sweep of a word. The original Greek is 'agape', and the Romans give us 'caritas', christian love for our fellow beings (creatures). Anyway, what I mean to say is that you use the word which is at the core of all I feel about this life. "The greatest of these is . . . charity." God is love. The great mystery, how does one know love if one is not given it, or shown love? The natural world is a book without end. There isn't an hour of any day when it doesn't return me to my senses. Nemo . . . thank you for seeing, through the mist at the end of the road.

Ron! I hope you've read the comments above by now! I hope it reassures you! And I take it as a compliment, about not writing similar poems. Do you know my two favourite poems are Robert Louis Stevenson's Happy Thought -- "The world is so full of a number of things / I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings." This struck me as so true when I was two, and still does! The other poem is Louis MacNeice's 'Snow' -- "World is crazier and more of it than we think, / Incorrigibly plural". There are so many worlds in the world! It's hardly possible to write similar poems!! haha!

Can I just say this to you, and others who've brought up the mist. It is, as Roger says, an image of the final "absence", and it is also like immunity (which is a kind of strength). There can't be world without occlusion now and then -- to cover the eye to prevent its use. Consciousness needs regular dips in unconsciousness. Little deaths, dress-rehearsals. Mist is a salve, a word with roots in 'salvage'. When all is gone, what is there? I think I feel the presence of creatures more strongly when the mist covers the ground. Take away sight, and another somewhat more creaturish perception awakens....
Also, thank your for noticing the blue rhymes! The sounds of 'blue' where quietly pinging ahead of me as I wrote this one, so I just followed them.

I've gone on too long. I haven't meant to explain the poem. I hope that's not possible.

Thank you. As I wrote earlier, all the readings you've given moved me so much.

Cally
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  #13  
Unread 09-15-2020, 05:23 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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.
Yes to every syllable of Nemo's post #7.
.
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  #14  
Unread 09-15-2020, 12:38 PM
Ron Greening Ron Greening is offline
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I've been reading "Prayer" and then Nemo's post and then "Prayer" again. It is pleasant to wander in his thoughts and then the poetry and to imagine such an opening. I did mean a compliment about not writing similar poems. I am floored by the range of form, tone and subject among the collection of poems that you have posted while I've been engaged with this site. The consistency of deft control, clarity of image, respect for words so they are used precisely or exuberantly but never blunted, the richness of the experience of being in the words you offer, well, I guess that you don't change that up very much.
Ron
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  #15  
Unread 09-15-2020, 03:20 PM
Cally Conan-Davies Cally Conan-Davies is offline
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Jim and Ron,

Nemo's post is the poem's companion piece. I really do fall silent when I try to say what Nemo means to me. He knew me even before he knew me. His insights are rarer and more precious than the precious metals. And Nemo is a great writer. He is.

I'll say again, when he used the word "charity" at the end of his post, I was blown away -- because it meant he was there, at the innermost heart of the poem, with me.

And Ron, thank you so much! It makes me incredibly happy to know that my poems give you pleasure! Your encouragement and support since I started posting here again have given me such delight, and more -- they have inspired me. To inspire each other -- isn't that one of the greatest things we can do for one another? I say this straight from my heart to yours: you are lovely, too.

Cally
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  #16  
Unread 09-16-2020, 08:30 AM
John Riley John Riley is online now
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First, so often Nemo's posts are poems. I hope he keeps them stored somewhere.

I've often thought the goal of a writer and especially poets is to use language to find silence. Write to be silent or see the silence so others can see it too. Miles Davis knew this with music, of course, and many others.

I see nothing I could say to attempt to improve this poem. I admit that on first reading the soul bit that Roger mentioned jumped out at me too. It is the one place that sort of jars us in a workshoppie way. I do not have faith in the existence of souls, but it is my duty to not impose my belief onto your poem.

A few years back I was writing a series of books about the Scientific Revolution, starting with Copernicus. Paracelsus kept popping up in the books I was reading so I read about him. I remember reading what he said about what made a poison and nodding my head. Then I thought of things like alcoholism and thought no, small amounts of poison over time will eventually reach toxicity. Your poem has a much more spiritual answer to him.

The bit about the mother is bold but it works. It fits in a huge way as it should. Why be subtle about a profound truth?

This is just so beautiful and powerful I'm wondering if I should had tried to say anything but that. That's probably all I need to be saying. I only wanted to show you why I love it. Thank you for writing it.

Best
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