Saturday, November 19, 2011

Candletrees


Candletrees




In my dream I walk beneath candletrees
tall and splayed and covered with
yellow inflorescence, luminescence
flickering to the sky. 
Their seed is hard and black,

difficult to sprout without scarification,
soaking in an acid bath
that mimics the labor pains of
their particular difficult nature.
I pick a pod up, roll it between my fingers,
feel the small flat bodies, so reluctant to live
outside their kind.

The candletrees change in the dark
as everything changes in the dark
to hulks of houses, listing
ruins of a harder wood now decayed
softer than an herb's bough,
greyed rosemary ghostification 
of the neighborhood
once slummed, then gentrified, now gone
into memory’s shacks, weeds where
once crouched the little iron houseboys
with their painted black skin and
flaking red coats holding 

a forever empty ring
to tie a ghost horse
that long ago trotted away.
So passes the night,
the years, the loves,
the life, from luminous yellow
to hard stubborn black
to a distant grey galloping.
I show you flowers in my dream;
I don’t know why you scream
and break glasses for
a bone horse that sails
the vacant air.


November 2011
Posted for    Poetics    at dVerse Poets Pub

Sheila Moore is hosting Poetics this week, and her prompt is on the subject of changes, as one has experienced them in life. This is from a dream I had earlier in the week, and seems to fit the bill, at least better than the politics rant I had up earlier.  Come join us. Link is live till midnight Sunday.



28 comments:

  1. when i saw the pic i expected a light garden or flower post..but should know you better by now...excellent hedge..love esp. how you give change a feeling (creepy..) in your last stanza..so can i start breathing again now..? smiles

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  2. oh my goodness...this is rather haunting...perhaps you should play among the bulbs more often hedge...love the progression in the second from houses to degredation...the houseboys was a nice touch as well...always found those a bit disturbing...screaming at flowers and breaking glass for the bone horse...surreal ending but i feel you...

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  3. Great use of imagery, symbols, metaphors. The writing is amazing:

    a forever empty ring
    to tie a ghost horse
    that long ago trotted away.

    What a concept!

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  4. Whoa! Quite a change at the end, and yet it goes with the scarification of the trees, the acid bath, the difficult transition. Love the part about the houses and ghostly horses, the little statuettes waiting, gone. K.

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  5. The last stanza brought this poem to a screaming ending. I will hear this in my dreams.

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  6. of the neighborhood
    once slummed, then gentrified, now gone

    i've lived in places like this, it's so haunting

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  7. I thought this was PERFECT in every regard. It mirrors what we see in the course of a life. Taking the trees, personifying the seeds, transforming the meaning through each of your transitions, and then reeling the span in the final lines. No better capture of "change", I've ever read. Another jewel in you chest!

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  8. Yes, there are rants, and there are gifts like these. Unpeeling this dream-image the way you do -- like the seed-pod of a candletree -- reveals the strata of the personal and collective past, some layered geographies perhaps, the house and grounds saturated with changes that yield this moment. Interesting lysis of the voice screaming for in image that for me somehow supercedes or cancels history, as if fate is fate no matter how far the hemlines rise and fall. History then is just the mystery's explanations, our changes slowly teaching us what the screamer forever knows. Perhaps ... anyway, loved it, especially that "inflorescence" - Brendan

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  9. God, lawn jockeys. Do they even still make them? In the affluent burb I grew up in, they were rife. Then came the riots one summer downtown, and everybody ran out and bought white paint and, presto, they all became caucasian by fall. People may have painted them, but they didn't remove them, though eventually they mostly crumbled away with age.

    I love the ghost horses in your dream/poem.

    I also like your pretty little marguerite daisies.

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  10. as Brian said, haunting indeed...I like the word "gentrification"...it embodies change

    nice to see you again and thank you for stopping by

    Peace

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  11. This will indeed haunt once the readings long done! Amazing write...though I do remain quite sorry I did not get to catch the rant...I went there, in staccato! lol

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  12. This one really reeled me in......."to tie a ghost horse that long ago trotted away".....makes one think about and remember times past, affluence crumbling slowly into ruin......sort of like the capitalistic economy, no? Great writing, as always, kiddo. Wow.

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  13. Vivid and intense... I especially like the last stanza.

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  14. This absolutely knocks my socks off-- so impassioned, so heart-driven that it truly sings. Always your sense of craft is evident but especially for me in the case of this poem, in the service of deep yet controlled feeling. Your inordinary and extraordinary masterful diction is evident in these lines:

    Their seed is hard and black,
    difficult to sprout without scarification,
    soaking in an acid bath
    that mimics the labor pains of
    their particular difficult nature.


    xxxj

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  15. I love the progression from seed to seedling to tree, to pieces of ghostly wood and memory...
    A hauntingly beautiful piece of writing.

    "yellow inflorescence, luminescence
    flickering to the sky.
    Their seed is hard and black,
    difficult to sprout without scarification,"

    "once slummed, then gentrified, now gone"

    "from luminous yellow
    to hard stubborn black
    to a distant grey galloping."

    Amazing lines here!

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  16. Amazing how this piece evolved from the contemplation of the trees, to the past to the relationships of the present. Beautiful, evocative writing, Joy.

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  17. Powerful images spun off and away from a simple flower

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  18. It wasn't until I read these lines that it all came together for me,

    "weeds where
    once crouched the little iron houseboys
    with their painted black skin and
    flaking red coats holding"

    very creative write I must add
    !!

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  19. You do a beautiful job of expressing despair in our human failings by focusing on the lawn jockeys. When you lead us with your ghost horse, the skeleton of a past that thought it would ride fast into a better future, you really triumph poetically. Stellar as always.

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  20. How wonderful this was. I moved into the dark of your Candletree and accompanied you through each delightful change!

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  21. Thanks all. So appreciate everyone stopping by to read and comment. The candletrees I haven't grown or seen for years--they are part of a past where I lived for a year or so in Denton, Texas and we grew them in the parks. The lawn statues are from my childhood neighborhood in Evanston, where I walked to school past them in the Fifties--my dream imagined the area declined and empty.

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  22. a dreamy change, wow.
    love the creative imagery on this, well done.

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  23. your words carry power and draw readers right in.


    fantastic piece on change,
    love the metaphor.

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  24. Great run through of change, Joy! Things appear and disappear. You've rendered it very well!

    Hank

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  25. I would love to know the genesis of this poem...a supreme depiction of the difficult nature of this plant...then the quiet segue and audacious leap into its associations. Beautiful control of mood.

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  26. your last stanza took my breath away.

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  27. When your blog first came up the image was not there, just a box that said image and had a number. So I read the poem without seeing it, and, because I never heard of a Candletree in my life, I thought your were telling about an imaginary kind of tree. Which made the poem, for me, a magical first read. To my surprise, clicking on the box did bring up the image and I was amazed to see that real tree. Then read the poem again, which was, for me, a magical second read. I am sure that if I returned to it daily that a year from now I would be reporting to you that I had just enjoyed my 365th magical read as much as the first one.

    feel the small flat bodies, so reluctant to live
    outside their kind.
    = one of my favorite lines in the poem...who ever thought of a seed's view before you?

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