Saturday, 7 July 2007

My dad gets married tomorrow.

A good counsellor, a good listener, and a good conversationalist will allow a person to set the terms of the conversation, rather than guiding the conversation to his/her own personal conversation comfort zones through too much talking, conversation manipulation, or leading questions. Good listeners get out of the way, and only assert their presence enough to keep the speaker moving in the right direction.

I think the best poems are that way, too: rather than TELLING you what you ought to see, and feel about a particular instant in time, a good poem just says "Look." and lets you taste a little experience, and good poets will put you right there beside them, so much that you don't even notice their presence: you're just sitting there yourself, looking at the same thing a poet noticed once.

It sounds so simple to use words to clear a way for a reader's own imagination to find a beautiful space, but then, it sounds so simple get a medical doctorate: just go to school for years, and work really hard! It's easy, too, I suppose, to be successful in business: find a need, fill it better than your competition, and make sure people find out! Easy peasy, lemon squeezey!

Rilke said, "Ah, but poems amount to so little when you write them too early in your life. You ought to wait and gather sense and sweetness for a whole lifetime, and a long one if possible, and then, at the very end, you might perhaps be able to write ten good lines."

Here are some poems worth a lifetime of gathering sweetness, because instead of just saying


the poet just says: "I was here." or, even better, "look"

and why do the poems need to MEAN anything more than what they say, really? can't it be enough to say, "a frog jumped into a pond. Plop." (that's a loose translation of the most famous haiku ever written)

(all translated by Kevin O'Rourke, from a book on Korean Poetry I carry with me every day)

Ha Wiji:
(untitled -- but a perfect, perfect picture)

The guests have gone; the gate is closed;
the breeze has dropped; the moon is sinking low,
I open the wine-jar again and recite a verse of poetry.
Perhaps this
is all the joy a recluse ever knows.

Evening; Self Portrait
by Cho Byunghwa

I've cast off in life what may be cast off;
I've cast off in life what may not be cast off,
and here I am, just as you see me.

by Kim Namju

A sunbeam
the size of a
chipmunk's tail
on the doorstep
of my cell.
I'd like to scissor slice it,
pop it down my throat,
melt my frozen body
as spring snow melts.

(this next one is the best erotic poem I've ever read)
hwang chini

I'll cut a piece from the side
of this interminable winter night
and wind it in coils beneath the bedcovers, warm and fragrant as the spring breeze,
coil by coil
to unwind it the night my lover returns.

if you don't like poetry, tough. Maybe my next post will be about the transformers movie or my favourite foods in Canada or trucks and shiny power tools. But for now, think about something beautiful you've seen, and how YOU'd share it with the people around you.

I have to go to bed now. My dad's getting married tomorrow.



1 comment:

tamie said...

Those poems read so pure and true, sitting on a rock in a river. They'd read purer still in silence, and maybe in the space between breaths. But then, there's always the need for the spice of laughter, the scent of another human being close.

Thank you for typing some of these. I was so bummed that I didn't write them down.