TiaTalk











{Sun 18 April 2010}   Spring Poetry
Spring Poetry

“Spring Transformations” was the original theme for Saturday’s reading. I was a little worried that we might end up with a round of sickly sweet “positive” poems, but as it turned out, none of us brought poems specifically to do with change and renewal. These ideas are always associated with spring, along with youth, innocence, idealism and hope, but most of us found poems with “a shadow over them” as the poets looked back with a mixture of pleasure and regret on past springs. Perhaps, as none of us are exactly “spring things” ourselves, we are attracted to poems that have a more complex view of this season.

My favourite amongst those shared was the gorgeous Nocturne of Remembered Spring by Conrad Aiken. This is a bittersweet poem, capturing all of the above themes, but from the perspective of one looking back on the promise and potential of a path not taken.

Other poems shared included:

  • Shakespeare’s Sonnet 98, From you have I been absent in the spring, a poem of longing where the lover declares that despite the spring all about, winter remains for him while he is separated from his lover.
  • Men ask the way to Cold Mountain (scroll down to read stanzas 6-8) by Han Shan. This does not seem to be a spring poem, but perhaps a reluctant spring is implicit – the reader spoke of a resonance with the feeling of deep-seated cold when the summer is not able to break the ice of winter.
  • Spring (8 Haiku) by Ben Gieske, a whimsical, funny and tender poem that is also of remembrance, of one or several springs.
  • A series of Spring Haiku by different poets, accompanied by photographs, curated by Ray Rasmussen. The Haiku poems sparked quite a discussion about Haiku and even inspired some sharing of poems written by the various participants.

We rounded off the evening by watching Michael Radford’s Il Postino, a funny and touching delight that was good to revisit as I’d last seen it many years ago. I was quite surprised to discover that in fact this story about Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s friendship with, and inspiration of, a humble postman on a remote Italian island is fictional… I suppose I believe so much in the power of poetry that it seemed to me perfectly plausible.

(Update 19/04/10: ) The Haiku shared included this one that I loved and which I can share now with the permission of the poet:

Drowning the day’s sorrow
Back and forth
The swimming pool

© Nitzan Marinov, Spring 2007



{Wed 14 February 2007}   Time Travel
Time Travel

I climbed a long road to a seat in the cloud
Where I watched soft wings beat butterflygold
Across the valley.
Stirred, I sang out for the brush of their beauty:
Might their velvet powder melt merry with mercy
My frozen cheek?

They gambolled in glory, made love to the light,
Wove wandwarm with wonder their way within sight
Of my shady seat.
I longed for their dance, but my shadow held still,
Undefined in the cool, yet preserved in the pull
Of old destiny.

Now it seemed, from the shade, if the line of the sun
Would advance, yes, invade, then they too would come
And gentle me.
Yes! They surged, saviour-sweet, but spattered their dust!
Against Time’s transparent fear-fortress they crushed,
Oh! lavishly.

And sundials spun and seasons were spent
While vision staggered through a veiled instant
Of disbelief.
Soulshaken I shivered: in shadow they’d gone;
My own scornful shade, surreptitious, slid on
Insidiously.

Half-blind I resigned to the dark of the hill
Allcompassing me in green-gathering chill
Persuasively.
But the finger of noon forced a way through the leaves,
My shadow surrendered and the butterflies sneezed
This close to me.



{Tue 9 January 2007}   Relativity
Relativity at Injasuti

There,
I, corvine clutcher,
pluck at bits
of reflected sunlight;
grapple rainbow shards
that glitter and twist,
beckon and change;
always over…
there!

Here,
streams pour ceaselessly
and the blue skies extend
and the mountains continue
and night is simple,
here.

Dawn’s golden tongue licks over pearly teeth
to melt the half-sucked peppermint
in God’s blue and awesome jaw,
and we are small,
the mountains and I.

And the high orbs lock there, and linger
and challenge for the sky,
for an instant eternal,
but we are hurled on regardless,
the mountains and I.



{Sun 26 November 2006}   On deciding not to marry a priest
On deciding not to marry a priest

Let us, as much as now within us lies,
Cherish these moments, and the memories
Of others such, not letting Cupid’s cease
Cry knell to friendship. Though he dearly dies,

Let’s celebrate with piercéd shining eyes
The new enlargement of those mysteries
Of discourse: soul’s and flesh’s discoveries,
Added as laurels to each other’s prize.

Then, let us coolly choose the sacrifice
Of valued passion for very valiant peace
That rules with justice o’er our yielded lease
And flattens mountains to make valleys rise.

That bonds, beyond the fail or flawed surprise
Of Nature, which forth from Father’s Spirit flies.



et cetera