Went to a poetry reading, right here in Somerville, at the Somerville Library, this past Wednesday evening. Lots of lyrical imagery and metaphors and such flying all over the place. And clean endings, yes, clean endings. Each tied together as nicely as you like.
“Braids to the small of the back…Treason of Golden Cape.”
“Where, alone, is repose?”
These poets have been around a while and you knew right away they knew their stuff.
It is remarkable what talent can do with words, words, words. Images explode, jump, fly around and leave you remembering and sensing and feeling them long after all the poets have gone home and the lights have been turned off.
“I knew him before love left.”
A particularly poignant poem about an older dad,
“With his will, my father dreamed.”
The confidence of these writers, amazing. What a charge. The word counts so much when put in the hands hearts and minds of those who know the beauty and character of what lay behind those words.
This poem, by Tomas O’Leary surely demanded its time for all time.
A Level Tongue
It takes a level tongue to roll a vowel
over a consonant. When high pique
infiltrates a pitched debate, more spittle
than language flies. Our cocked ears miss
the meaning of the meaning.
The deities of speech observe us
lazily, their irony reserved
for stabs at sumptuous truths
unleashed in spartan syllables.
But how do we dare to speak at all
who’ve come to speech unspeaking?
And why in particular is my brain
battered with daft abstractions
when my whole intention here’s
to grab a timid bull by both horns
and explicate the fine points of dilemma.
The rude bull can’t quite give a shit
that fancy straddles it for metaphor,
while I, like my words, am dead or alive,
an arc of sharp between two blunts.
And the way we leap from I to we
is loath to tell us if we are, or aren’t.
An array of subjects covered. We traveled clear across the world high into the Himalayan mountains to rainbows and stars to the inside of a head not sure believing in God was something to be believing in while another was sure of it.
Poetry, the poetry on this night, was fresh with the news of the day. “Men die for the news in poetry,” as William Carlos Williams said. And that is exactly what we got in this poetry reading on this night. We got the sense of what it is of human beings being human.
Trust becomes particularly the richness of who we are and what we do. Trust is part of that news, it is part of our everyday carryings on with each other, with ourselves. Do we do that? Can we do that? How do we know? Sometimes just a…Well, wait, let’s let the poet speak to it.
It was Wyeth country,
all crisp edges
and clipped speech.
the name of the game.
I remember the tension,
the charged air.
At the isolated cove
surrounded by spears
of pine and jagged ledge,
The green was gone,
enveloped in a gray
membrane of wet fog.
We took the boat out
on heavy chop;
you rowing—out to prove
your strength, your ability
to steer, your unwavering will;
me—full of the fear and thrill
of having no control,
feeling the recklessness
–Priscilla Turner Spada
Thanks to Ibbeson Street Press, located right here in Somerville, its Publisher, Doug Holder, and poetry editor, Harris Gardner,
and, of course, the poets for making this great night of poetry happen.