Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Rebellion

Rebellion




When the Master died
in the red ruins of the night
and the child of slaves became free,
orphaned she ran, a witchwild flame
from her matchstick home
to the hardcobble streets
on her pierced bound feet.

She hobbled in shadow
gnawed crusts cooked in sun
hid with mice till the wounds
closed their lips; climbing the hill,
she looked down at the Corpse
in the snowman, the burnt stinking Tower
raised her arms, crooked her knees

swirled her tattered skirt
and began to dance.

July 2012






Posted for   OpenLinkNight   at dVerse Poets Pub
This is our 52nd Open Link Night at the Pub--so Happy Birthday to Us, and come be a part of the party, tonight and next week, when Brian and Claudia have a very full schedule of celebratory insanity for us to imbibe.



If you'd like to hear the poem (with assorted background whistles) read by the author, please click below:







Image: Fire Dance, by Paul Gauguin, 1891
Public domain, via Wikipaintings.org

54 comments:

  1. i'm so glad she managed to escape...many don't..not even though the master has died and the cage is broken...they just don't know how to dance anymore...so glad she did...really...moved me to tears hedge..

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  2. Oh dear! This is not a happy camper (even at the end exactly), if a beautiful poem. The wounds closing their lips is an incredibly striking phrase, as is the whole image of the crooked legged girl dancing.

    I found the idea of the Corpse in the snowman intriguing, though uncertain. I am thinking of someone vaguely colonial - white in other words - as the place is not a snowman kind of place = although, of course, such a place may not name things with snow. Then I go to Stevens - the nothing that is not there, and the nothing that is - and I can see the Master as rather a nothing man. I am sure you have something very specific in mind-

    A beautiful cadence overall, all those consonants hobbling along, binding and being freed into some kind of sibilant movement there - )the whistles.) k.

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    1. Damn those whistles. One of these days I'll get it figured out. ;) Yes, both the slight colonial overtones, and the Stevens reference are exactly where I was trying to go. I've been looking at a lot of paintings from the symbolist movement lately--I think that concept of adapting/reinterpreting (symbols) may have influenced this one. Thanks for always reading so attentively, k.

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  3. PS - yes - a very moving poem - makes sense of the dancing on the grave feelings - the raw then jubilant, if crooked and wounded, anger of rebellion. k.

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  4. Such a deeply intelligent interpretation of the painting: your version of events seems to step from a combo of history and myth and leaves little burning footprints across the page.

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  5. An amazing painting! I started t choose lines from the poem to read back to you, but found I was choosing the whole poem. Nothing here works alone: the master and the slave, all of he reds and wounds, the match and the flame, the hobbling and the dance. Rebellion/freedom.

    PS: The building is gone, but the snowman still exists--so if she has witch blood in her dancing--keep dancing, keep dancing.

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    1. Thanks, Susan--I'd not seen this painting of Gauguin's--he often doesn't do much for me, but sometimes he really rings the bells, and this one I thought had something to say. And yes, the dance must go on.

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  6. smiles...i love this hedge...i love that she found freedom and was able to dance...you know this also screams for more of the story as well...the corpse in the snowman is a really cool descriptive line in it as well...good stuff poet

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  7. Fantastic! I love this! The corpse in the snowman is such an intriguing image. "Witchwild flame" is also great!

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  8. I love the depth of this, even though there aren't many lines. The dancing got me, especially as you described the hell that the girl went through just to get to that point.

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  9. This is very hypnotic and this painting, I think, was painted for YOUR words :)

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  10. Really great descriptions..."hid with mice till the wounds
    closed their lips" ...love the wildness in this, the joy in her freedom despite the wounds...

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  11. Reads like a story passed down to the dancing free descendents of the liberated girl, a continued testament to her spirit. Fine, fine work.

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  12. I loved this! Powerful, insightful and bold imagery all in one writing. Visually stunning--

    I love your opening stanza-
    When the Master died
    in the red ruins of the night
    and the child of slaves became free

    Reminds me of war and its high costs on innocent civilians in harms way! How the causalities of war and life tear at the very threads that hold us sane. And then in spite of the pains and loss of life, we dance!

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  13. You packed alot of pain and wild joy into a very short piece, Hedge, and painted your words so well, interpreting the art. Painfully beautiful, and I feel the rebellion and my fingers trace the scars. Chilling, mesmerising and brilliant!

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  14. Wonderful imagery. This makes me think of the phoenix.

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  15. I love this...I love that she escaped and I loved that she got to dance. Great!

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  16. So much hope in that final dance! Adore the drama of colour in the words "a witchwild flame"!

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  17. Hot and hard. Striking as the match.

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  18. I'm wondering if those demons of Voodoo made her dance in exchange for her freedom...my mind seriously ran away with this one Joy...that art is just fantastic...and your words! History, imagery, goosebumps! NOW..I'll listen :)

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  19. I went Stevens. And, it made my brain hurt. But, it's a great write.

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    1. Yes, he'll do that, but it's for your own good. ;-) Thanks, MZ.

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  20. "orphaned she ran, a witchwild flame" ... Oh yes, this line is superb.

    "to the hardcobble streets
    on her pierced bound feet" ... You know, I tend to picture things in a weird sort of way. And when I first read this pair of lines, my mind conjured an image of her feet with little roads running along the bottom." For what it's worth, she may have entire worlds beneath her skin.

    "hid with mice till the wounds
    closed their lips" ... Wounds with lips. Love this.

    Your ending is so creative; you know I love it. Freedom and barely escaping with your life has a way of enabling you to dance with the dead and the frozen.

    I love the defiance in this. The idea that rebellion of body is not enough; there must be a rebellion of spirit. And that is where true dance is born.

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  21. Stunning imagery. Really liking the picture choice as well.

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  22. If not, this is one of the most beautiful poems I've ever red. Gorgeous!

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  23. Enjoyed the read Hedge ~ I particularly like the witchwild flame ~

    The dancing in the end, is a celebration of many good things to come ~

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  24. a wicked image to hang your words from hedge...

    she looked down at the Corpse
    in the snowman

    that is cold... and hot in duality ;D

    the metallic sounds of your recital only serve to extend the rusty juice of this bazing write...

    swirled her tattered skirt
    and began to dance...

    on the graves of her guilty victims (me thinks)

    its compact but still expanding in my mind as i type...

    thanks hedge

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  25. blazing - for the second week your voice wobbles my accuracy...

    i do like a good mental quiver! ;D

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    1. Well, you're a master at turning them out--your latest is enough to shake down the Tower of London brick by brick. Thanks, Arron.

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  26. This had a lovely fairytale quality - fabulous imagery

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  27. harsh beauty...I deeply appreciate the worlds you create and guide us through word by word.

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  28. You paint an awesome picture with this one. The emotion is real throughout. I like it!

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  29. a heart breaker... yet that tiny bit of revenge offers hope. this has a wonderful flow and paints its own fabulous picture.

    wounds closed their lips... an image that will stay with me.

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  30. must say left me wanting more as it rolled of the tongue

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  31. I like how you tied up what you started in the fourth line, near the end. Dead or alive, dance, baby. The Last Word is a good thing to get.

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  32. How wonderful to hear your voice. Your delivery and intonation were perfect and brought a new and moving intensity to your words.
    Thank you Joy. I have shared this with those I love, all agree on your remarkable talent. James.

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  33. Freedom aches in our bones, even those deadened by whips and chains. Your tale of innocence gaining that freedom that brings dance to hobbled legs is joyous and visionary. The painting is an interesting one by Gauguin, which I have not seen before. his grandmother was a renowned revolutionary, fighting for women's and worker's rights. He rebelled against it for a while in his bourgeois life, then wentboff to paint, another rebellion. Vargas Llosa has a great novel where he intertwines both of their stories.

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  34. I love this. It is not only her independence, but the freedom beyond with the death of the master . I love her as "a witchwild flame". This is so beautifully pagan. :)

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  35. She must be fantastically happy now that she is free. No master, no one to hound and bound. And you have a wonderfully wonderful voice, Joy! Thanks for sharing!

    Hank

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  36. Hi Joy - I was thinking about this poem this morning as I was running around downtown NYC and here's a thought - a thought only--I myself am not sure that it's a good one - but it has to do with the snowman thing again - and I say it gingerly because I am really uncertain about it, but the thought is that you've sort of capitalized the words that are symbols here - Master/Tower - Corpse is a bit less so, while snowman is probably more symbolic than literal - well, maybe - I don't know- but the thought was maybe capitalizing Snowman rather than corpse.

    I have to say that this seemed to make some sense to me as I was jogging around, but of course, looking at the poem, I don't know, since the capitalization seems to be your way of emphasizing sound, and i don't know that you want to emphasize sound of snowman, while you are emphasizing Corpse.

    Anyway - the thought - such as it was - that if you capitalized Snowman rather than Corpse, you'd be going for the more symbolic words and it may make that symbolism clearer. But it may also overemphasize it -

    I don't know - it's fine as is! You can see the types of things my brain chews. k.

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    1. ps - or other thought-snow man- separate words, somehow to make it more formal and, to me, symbolic. k.

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    2. First, I'm very flattered that any of my poetry sticks in the mind long enough to recur at odd moments--that's quite a compliment. I find those are both interesting thoughts about how structure, actual word forms, that is, affect meaning. I seldom capitalize at all, as I'm sure you've noticed, but it felt important here--the reason Corpse is capitalized instead of Snowman is to relate it back to Master, so the poem ties up properly and a)reiterates the death in the first line, and b) suggests who the corpse(and also the snowman) is. I didn't separate snow and man here because I'm wanting the image that immediately comes to mind of snow shaped into a man,and something dead within it, but I will cogitate upon your thoughts and see if I like this more Stevens-y feeling way of doing it. Thanks again for your insight and thoughts, k.

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    3. Well, don't take the thoughts too seriously. I found the snowman compelling but also a bit of a stumble - at least I kept wondering how he was there in the midst of flames - and I had the tropical image in mind both because of sun and Guaguin and just kind of colonial feel here - I think of some specific rebellions - so I was thinking about what would make it clearer to me, but the capital may be way too much emphasis. I did think of the Corpse as referring to Master - etc.

      I can get overly detail oriented probably. k.

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    4. I was checking to see if you had something new up and realized how wrong this comment sounded - I meant don't take MY thoughts seriously, first, and secondly, of course, I'd remember the poem and think about it when jogging around! It's a very compelling poem, and sometimes it's the niggling things that catch one - that's partly what I've been commenting on - this snowman niggling me! Odd, since the major image of the poem is the secreting with mice and girl dancing! But I really did want to correct the tone of my comment - I get a bit braindead or too much in my own head (may be the same.) k.

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  37. The over-riding metaphor for me is freedom from what shackles you. The language here so very careful, each like weight-bearing pillars of a house in which so much must be considered. I saw this as a great fire possibly set by the orphan and the "snow-man" as one covered in ashes and seeming as someone who can now melt out of her life. The wounds "closing lips" also carry many connotations - all in a way of healing the past, reparation of self,and going forward. Much liberation in this Rebellion to my mind! There is always such depth in your work, and such artistry in your usages. I'm forever in awe.

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  38. I love the opening stanza, Jo Ann. Your imagery is outstanding.

    Pamela

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  39. I became completely engaged in this riveting write... hypnotized and wanting to be free and dance. Thank you.

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  40. dripping reverie!
    I had an aunt who I swear was a witch...

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  41. so many fascinating images you painted here. really beautiful. I can picture her so perfectly twirling and dancing.

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  42. So many evocations of a backstory that's irresistibly mysterious. Can't help thinking that there must be more!

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  43. Stunning stuff - love 'hid with mice till the wounds
    closed their lips'

    Anna :o]

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  44. It is gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! It's clean but jangles history, and dances magic. It's an enigma and I am caught in it's loop.

    I must read, and read it again, and...

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  45. This is a wonderful ending (it feels inevitable, but needn't have been.. how well that is suggested):

    crooked her knees


    swirled her tattered skirt
    and began to dance.

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