Saturday, August 20, 2011

Oleander in August

Oleander, by Petteri Sulonen



Oleander in August



Exploded cherries splattered sweet
on  extruded green tongues, pliant arms
swing the eye up to wheel along the
frame, stepping the smooth white wall

where oleander splays. Cascades of
chewed resilience buttoned into heat
fasten the jacket of summer
tight at the neck of July.

Worn ragged now in the sun’s
diamond gaze, drying stamens
scratch a calligraphy of mortality
burnt and faded on a rocky wind,

yet evergreen fingers of leathery
chartreuse still push a stubborn grace
past spent verbena, dry lemongrass, replacing
each crinkled tissue beauty as it fades.

So put your April budding on
an August face; don’t leave me alone
stripped barren in this fool’s summer
dying of the cold.


August 2011



 Posted for  Poetics   at dVerse Poets Pub

Victoria Ceretto-Slotto uses her hands-on background in the visual arts to provide us with this week's prompt: creating texture in a poem similar to the way artists create it in paintings. I've tried to do this here in both visual image, and with the sounds of the words. Come join us.



Photo: Oleander, by my friend Petteri Sulonen, used with his kind permission. 
Thanks, Petteri. 




28 comments:

  1. As ever, a masterful piece. As I said on my post for today, the layering of distinctive imagery parallels the painter's impasto, I think. I especially like "Cascades of
    chewed resilience buttoned into heat
    fasten the jacket of summer
    tight at the neck of July." -- but the concretions couched in the lyrical movement of your lines are superb. xj

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  2. You did a fantastic job of inserting texture into this poem, Hedge. And I loved the sudden jab at the end when you moved from observation to the personal. Terrific!

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  3. Ever careful, your description always carefully eliciting all the aspects of your metaphor. Another very fine piece, my friend.

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  4. this is wonderful hedge...esp. loved the scratching a calligraphy of mortality..i felt all the cascading and life of the flowers but even more this scratching on mortality..

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  5. You did better than try, Joy. You succeeded wildly. My sense of tingled with all the images you gave us. Thanks so much.

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  6. Beautiful images...I especially like the 3rd stanza.

    ~laurie

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  7. As I was mowing the yard this morning, Faulkner's novel Light In August came to mind -- I tried to remember what he had to say about the texture of light this time of year, but couldn't, though there was something distinct about it ... The phrase has always haunted me.

    And then I read this:

    "...Put your April budding on
    an August face ;don’t leave me alone
    stripped barren in this fool’s summer
    dying of the cold.


    We're in the fiercest part of the season, but the angle of the light is almost dead-of-winter bright. Your Oleander suffers like the heart in the dead of August. A friend once advised that Gaia always heals herself; our hearts aren't quite that strong, but singing of the texture of that light takes some of the sting out. Almost enough. Fine poem.

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  8. An outstanding response to the prompt - covered every base and then some - your word choice is stunning and read aloud it became even greater.

    Exemplar par excellence

    a real treat for the senses

    thanks hedge

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  9. Damn, you were born to write poetry. There's no more beautiful example of decay and death than a flower.

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  10. Cascades of
    chewed resilience buttoned into heat
    fasten the jacket of summer
    tight at the neck of July.

    my fav lines...so visual...and the scratched claigraphy...great piece joy...you paint nature well in well chosen words

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  11. A beautiful tribute to nature's beauty.

    Like these lines:

    Worn ragged now in the sun’s
    diamond gaze, drying stamens
    scratch a calligraphy of mortality
    burnt and faded on a rocky wind

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  12. The sights and glory of Summer will soon give way to Iris and Mum.
    Hedge...You think Poetically.
    And superbly I might add....G

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  13. Really like the first two stanzas, catching and drawing us in to the textures, but you really hit it with the last verse.
    So put your April budding on
    an August face; don’t leave me alone
    stripped barren in this fool’s summer
    dying of the cold.
    Such a stark finish, cooling one down from the August dryness. Beautiful write.

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  14. Worn ragged now in the sun’s
    diamond gaze, drying stamens
    scratch a calligraphy of mortality
    burnt and faded on a rocky wind,

    I agree, as you know, with Mark: you were born to write poetry. The texture appears in marvelous ridges. You capture an extremely important aspect of texture that it can be used to interrupt or increase the complexity of the color. You've masterfully laid on color (cherry reds, greens) only to scrape the surface of the texture to create an even finer work of art. Masterful!

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  15. Thanks all. August makes me feel older than winter, for some reason. All the kind words are very rejuvenating, however, so many thanks.

    @B: That was a fearsome book. The only quote I remember from it is the one about there being a price to pay for being good as well as a price to pay for being bad. There's just something about the South that loves the dead better than the living...

    @Anna & Mark: That's a very high compliment and I deeply appreciate it. Anna your words mean all the more since you are gifted with seeing with the artist's eye.

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  16. Beautiful imagery *sigh* ~ from the first line 'Exploded cherries splattered sweet on extruded green tongues' I was swept up in the sensory experience..lovely.

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  17. I really like the photograph, taken by your friend, yes?

    I am not a fan of August, either. But i am partial to poisonous botanicals. One never knows when one may need to deal with a troublesome guest or relation.

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  18. Beautiful description in your piece. Line after line putting texture together like a puzzle.

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  19. Not only did you engage us in layers of texture, you also brought that frantic feel of summer ending, the time to DO slipping through the hour glass, and the wonder of what will follow. Fantastic as always, as both the picture and the mastery of words engage the reader and ALL their senses!

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  20. Afuckin'MEN leave me more of this summer treat yet. winter will have it's time again and I can easily wait for it.

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  21. There's a longing here that goes beyond the oleander, hedgewitch...

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  22. jacket of summer tight at the neck of July - I feel this one for sure!

    scratch a calligraphy of mortality
    burnt and faded on a rocky wind, leathery chartreuse, dry lemongrass, - all great yet noxious textures of this summer's heat indeed.

    replacing each crinkled tissue - I love that, "crinkled" is an awesome texture that I never would have thought of necessarily as a texture :)

    Enjoyed this immensely, Joy, thanks!

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  23. Thanks all, for reading and for taking the time to leave your impressions and thoughts.

    @Talon: yes, there is. You are a most perceptive person.

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  24. So put your April budding on
    an August face;

    I really enjoy reading your poetry...
    Thank you.
    ~ deb

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  25. I love "put your April budding on your August face" especially, as we face the end of summer here....if only it could be.

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  26. "Exploded cherries splattered sweet
    on extruded green tongues"

    in these few words you convey a bright image, taste, texture ~ even a sense of excitement. brilliant! a truly effective use of texture throughout, Joy. and i don't particularly care for oleander. {smile} dani ♥

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  27. You have so many layers in here they really do cascade like mountains. I see the first two lines grabbed everyone's interest, mine too. Thanks for sharing

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