Monday, February 14, 2011

Vertigo


Vertigo

The heart is
blind but spinning, like a jewel
transparent in darkness.
If there were light,
igniting colors…
but even in the blind black
colors wait for a chance to break
out of the holding stone

Their sleeping presence spins and
turns inside each facet,
seeds within a pod rusting in the wind,
germ within the seed that soon will know
quickness in the green;
only give light
to what already exists.
Only give the meaning to the form.

But I don’t think
this is a thing that you can do.
You don’t know which the gem, which the jeweler
which the instrument, or
what of me is determined by your incessant tapping
and what by the temper of the stone.

You think I’m soft metal, an abradable plate
blank before you etch it with the acid of your desire,
scratched by the stylus that swings between your legs
to give back in my life the imprint of your will.
But I am diamond hard,
and it’s hard to shape what spins in darkness,

and hard to see what’s carved
in the fretwork of scars upon the holding stone;
wind in the dead leaves dancing
a horn of honey poured into the sea
a network of veins full flushed with color
that waits for light to be given
to what already exists.


September 1987, revised February 2011



Uncredited photo of a salt cellar provided by Magpie Tales removed

33 comments:

  1. what a perfect pairing...the photo prompt and the poem
    and the poem is just so hideously wonderful
    "a horn of honey poured into the sea"
    hot damn that's just killer.

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  2. the second stanza is my fav...it speaks to me on some level...the wind dancing in the dead leaves too...very visual and familiar yet more...actually that whole last stanza is like a closing firework exploding with imagery...very nice.

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  3. There's some good fire in this one.
    I love the second stanza. Very well written.

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  4. I wonder at what time in our generational history that we became jaded? We certainly have run the damn gamut from a-z and then ran out of alphabet.
    HW you is da' bomb! Hey we ran out of alphabet so we better start sucking some of the youth out of them that came after us cuz, I ain't quite ready to let it go yet.

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  5. great imagery and take on the prompt.

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  6. Dear Hedgewitch: Love the Alchemic Lessons here! I'm learning as per salt's latest inductee. That stylus was made for walking apparently! Fun to shift shapes with full-spectral salt that's been cleansed of all its putrid impurities.

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  7. Hedgewitch, I continue to be struck by the strength of your imagery. Here, I was pulled in by that spinning jewel of a heart and propelled along from one image after another to the last stanza where you really show off your skills: "a network of veins full flushed with color/ that waits for light to be given/to what already exists." Beautiful!

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  8. Wasn't it Wallace Stevens who wrote of the world as a "a spinning green mundo"? Dunno if you ever read this but this poem tropes doubly from there, making the spinning crystal the heart and then challenging that notion that something so quicksilver as the heart could be assigned a purely gemlike, crystalline shape, bereft of blood and feeling. And I like the comparison of nibs between the lover's stylus and the far sharper diamond point of a fierce heart. And the heart's history in the scars of its spinning, and its mystery in what becomes as signature of what it always was. Tubas, tympanies and confetti for this parade down to the center of the organ which floods us so with feeling and kills us in the end. -- Brendan

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  9. "Meaning to the form"..amazed at the life within. So complex, in the best way..
    Stay "diamond hard"!!

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  10. Ha! You put his junk in the poem.

    What, you want a better comment than that? Okay. Those last three lines are brilliant and wise. I re-read and pondered them and saw myself in them. Also, I hate you, because I am in a poetry lull at the moment. Also, I should be cleaning house right now, but priorities are priorities. I had to come read the Witch's poem, first. ;-)

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  11. "...germ within the seed that soon will know
    quickness in the green"

    I love the melding of plant and mineral here. Lovely imagery, Hedge.

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  12. It does look a bit like a rock crystal - you're right!

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  13. Oh my goodness! So many brilliant images in one piece. Not unlike the faces of the cut crystal in the image. Great connection to the prompt!

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  14. Wowzers, Hedgewitch! I think this is one of my favorites of yours so far. It is RICH and deep and chock full of amazement. Your final stanza is just brilliant. I so love "wind in the dead leaves dancing" and "a horn of honey poured into the sea". Wow!Out of the starting gate and around the track, leaving us all in your dust! And it be stardust!

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  15. @Brendan: yes, Stevens called the world " my fluent,my green mundo" in his classic anti-war (sort of) poem, Notes from a Supreme Fiction:
    ...We shall return at twilight from the lectern,
    Pleased that the irrational is rational,
    Until flicked by feeling on a gilded street
    I call you by name my green, my fluent mundo,
    You will have stopped revolving except in
    crystal...
    and there's a leaf in it as well, spinning like the going round and round of poetry til going round achieves its mnemonic (or perhaps chthonic) goals and is enough...Stevens is of course one of my main influences, and I know his words/ideas are always sleeping in the back of my mind, and coming out in my own work...hopefully not just in a totally derivative way. Thanks for giving me an excuse to go re-read one of his most nuanced and baffling poems.

    And thanks for the high compliment of comparison as well.

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  16. Whew! Your fourth stanza blew me away! So strong, woman power to the max!

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  17. Wally's one of my serious boys, too. Though I read Sylvia Plath in you too, for the pure Puritan-less pagan punches you can serve up (the ur-Hedgewitch?). Plath drunk on Whitman, maybe. Saul Bellow said, and I've repeated in places like this several times: "A writer is a reader moved to emulation" -- The more we read, the more resonant the Voice inside and behind our own. Why not wade to the other shore on the shoulders of giants and giantesses? And do we really have a choice? - Brendan

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  18. 'But I am diamond hard'. Touché. What an excellent write.

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  19. @Brendan Yes, your work seems to float with some of his concepts about order and chaos and the old gods, for sure. And has that same deep kinship to things oceanic. I haven't read much Sylvia(or even Bukowski)--imbibed my pagan attitude organically (maybe from all that espresso in 60's coffeehouses-zeitgeist,etc...)

    and re: the 'on the shoulders' thing--so very true. I think sometimes we who write all dip into the same inkwell, hear the same voices--some are just better translators than others.

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  20. What a beautiful spin on the photo.

    I loved this stanza:

    You think I’m soft metal, an abradable plate
    blank before you etch it with the acid of your desire,
    scratched by the stylus that swings between your legs
    to give back in my life the imprint of your will.
    But I am diamond hard,
    and it’s hard to shape what spins in darkness,

    It just speaks of what happens when assumptions are made - even in the throes of passion. Just wonderful writing, hedgewitch.

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  21. Thank you Talon. That happens to be my favorite, too.

    And thanks all who've come by and commented. If you have a magpie up, I will be getting around to it, promise--many of you I read daily regardless of prompts, anyway, just because you are that good.

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  22. This is really cool. I don't have time to do it justice right now...will have to come back and read again.

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  23. Like a gentle kiss before delivering a knee to the groin. Excellent!

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  24. You are woman, you are roaring,
    and the poetics usurp physics as
    Tess observed, for you have the license
    to twist and bend what is, or seems to
    be, into your world, your perceptions,
    where women have found their voices
    and men are forced to listen. I found
    an image of a glass sculpture by Robert
    Buick that embodied what I found in
    this glorious piece. Loved the lines
    /even in the blind blank colors wait/
    /seeds within the pod rusting in the
    wind/ and like others mentioned
    /wind in the dead leaves dancing/.
    This effort is sterling, and stirring.

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  25. full of energy
    wonderful poem

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  26. full of imagery.

    thanks for the fabulous inspirations.

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  27. Intense and powerpacked, Joy!! Those last 2 stanzas left me ZAPPED!! Really too good... the words, the feeling, the vigor... it was simply brilliance!!
    A superbly strong take on this magpie prompt!
    Liked it a lot!!

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  28. Amazing piece... such intensity, such depth. Wonderful write, combined yet with this picture, excellent choice.

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg