a break well earned,
routine and calendar
All well and good,
but it’s bad news
when the vacationer is
my mercurial muse.
And so I’m stuck
with blank white screen
until she returns
from where she’s been.
OK, so you have to kind of bend the rhyme there at the end. I’m desperate.
She’s gone again! Those of you who know me know my problems with my willful muse. Sometimes she just takes off. But she taunts me with beginnings. I have begun to write several posts over the last ten days or so, and the quality they all have in common is dreadfulness.
A hole in one! The noble beast
wants no one else to clutch it,
but the ball’s all sog,
there’s no way, dog,
that I would even touch it!
This is Andie, the newest addition to the Lucky Dog Society. She has not yet figured out that I do not do dog slobber, and she thinks I actually WANT that ball. Not a chance.
The almosts of the garden — I know them and yet I disbelieve. Almost ripe. Almost ready. The bud on the vine, swaddling life snugly within itself, almost a melon, almost a squash, almost a morning glory. I know what it will be and yet I disbelieve. The wonder of it is as new as the almost itself.
To watch is to disbelieve. It cannot be that Puritan-plain dirt conjures such richness of tapestry and ornament, emerald and amethyst, filigree of leaf and tendril. From the muslin of February to the brocade of August there is nothing believable. In a slow burst, the almosts bloom to opulence in velvety defiance of winter’s naysayers.
In the almost is the breath-stop, the cannot-be, that gossamer moment that hovers like the hummingbird I cannot hold.
Practicing prose poetry
with thanks to my son’s tomato forest.
Wrath. It is said to be sinful. I think not. There are times when extreme anger is a virtue. OK, so I’m not a moral theologian.
The problem with anger is how it fevers and boils under a tight lid, that lid that bounces and clatters as it tries to hold in the steam pushing up and, inexorably, out. Eventually there is a lava that oozes over, a thick anger, blackened and petrified wherever it congeals. Or the vapor writhes away, leaving only the distilled curls of rage.
Gardeners are lucky. They can scroll the news, public or personal, and immediately grab weapons of grass destruction. Stabbing, wrenching, yanking, soul-satisfying wrath. Crabgrass is therapy. With roots that clutch the deepest core of the earth and blades that hack their way through other life, it bares its coarse green teeth, snarling, daring the gardener to fight to the death.
As a normal thing, I am a proud, peaceful wimp; however, I espouse white-knuckled violence when it comes to crabgrass, and I enthusiastically endorse wrathful gardening.
Practicing prose poetry. And apparently alliteration. (Do any of you find yourselves writing/talking/muttering to yourselves in alliterative words? It’s scary.)
I am going to try to learn something new, dear reader: prose poetry. Apparently the main difference between poetry and prose poetry is form: whereas poetry uses word arrangement on the page to convey (or obscure) meaning, prose poetry is written in the plainness of paragraphs (I wonder if writers dream in alliteration).
Some of you have written prose that I think occasionally morphs into poetry, and I always have to read it over to try to figure out how it snagged me. The Poetry Foundation has an elegant example of Prose Poetry by Amy Lowell. It is instructive to me. Some of the other examples are not so helpful.
I expect my attempts to be awkward, but I want to see if I can figure it out. Consider yourself warned.
There bloom at my feet
sun and sky;
I can’t explain it
so I won’t try.
Did you ever not say something you should have said? Good. Then you will understand the following.
I cannot do math in my head. Dad had his master’s degree in mathematics and, I suspect, wondered if I’d been switched at birth and where his real daughter was. My math persecution complex began early in life.
Some years ago, I was checking out of a hardware store apparently on the heels of someone who couldn’t do math in his head, and the cashier huffed to me about that inferior being. This is what I thought but didn’t say: “I can’t do math in my head either! But I can play Bach’s Little Fugue in G minor like nobody’s business, with both hands cavorting over three manuals, and my feet flying over the foot pedals, and having a grand old time doing it — and not once has it occurred to me to get all huffy about those who can’t!”
Mind you, dear reader, if I tried to play the Bach today, I’d fall off the bench and break several bones, but that doesn’t change the fact that I could once. It was exhilarating, and I’ve never met a single number, in or out of my head, that came close to being such fun.
(This harrumph was the result of reading Dan Antion’s blog post about the way retailers try to rope us into buying, with the inarguable position that math-in-the-head is our best defense against their wiles. In no way was his post huffy, but it reminded me of my to-now unsaid say. Yes, thank you, I feel better.)