Sunday, 30 May 2010

Playing Around…. Can you Waltz with a Semi-colon?

How small can a poem be? Can three short lines satisfy.... Or should we cram the page with syllables, stuff it full of images, like a mouth overwhelmed by a Hotdog?

Some Lit Crit, where I ride around trying to make a decision...

  Sunday morning walk
Bird song and dog barks
     Church bell tolling
                 Rachel Green

Is this enough? 

In the bell tower the vicar’s barking like a dog; while the congregation’s flirts in the graveyard: like peacocks they raise their skirts to the passing choir; who laugh and note the black underwear. Inside Marina and Maria Vasconcelles sing of kettles and old age pensions; her daughter Zhenya laughs a little: she finds them fun, but her own words are better. Yes! much much better.

You walk past
The high stonewall

A bell, a dog
And birds laughing

Iridescent notes
You leave behind…

Fading songs
Now far off flutes…

Later you rest
On a quiet bank

And memories
Tumble into words.

Or too much?

Once in a Rothko exhibition I became so used to the lack of activity in the paintings that when I saw one picture that some lines and sharp brushwork it overwhelmed me – much too much!

In classic Chinese poetry what strikes me is the general quietness of the poem, a quietness heightened by small movements:

In our idleness cinnamon blossoms fall.
In night quiet, spring mountains stand

empty. Moonrise startles mountain birds:
here and there, cries in a spring gorge.

                    (Bird-Cry CreekWang Wei)

While in Classical Japanese verse, there’s that sudden jolt out of the mundane into the unexpected:

I forgot that my lips
Were rouged,
Of the clear spring
              (Fukuda Chiyo-ni)

The implication hangs like mist in the air…

Here in Rachel Green’s Haiga (there’s an image attached) there’s a Monday morning rush hour in just three short lines. Are Sundays really that busy?

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