Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Age Before Sunrise




The Age Before Sunrise




I watched the tear
begin in the lace
heard the first crack
of the bone that comes
before the tender runner falls

into the shrill crusher
where surface grit is sliced
from blue heart turned to tar,
every factor extracted
sweetly from its bloody root

to a dead center
for the incurious worm
still gnawing
its own circular tomb
in the thing it killed

forever;
what is it
that growling? What
slips its face up so shyly
over the rim of the past?



~July 2013





posted for    real toads
Challenge: Get Listed
Though I seldom work from word lists, I have to admit, lately I'll be happy to shake hands with anything that pries my muse out of her cave. This particular word list, which you can see in its entirety at the link above, was supplied by the poet M, who also blogs as Grapeling.


Optional Musical Accompaniment








Image: The Old Tower In The Fields, by Vincent Van Gogh, 1884
Public Domain, via wikipaintings.org




27 comments:

  1. "Oh, I'm sick of writing. I'm uninspired." Then, BAM. Yank yank yank. What is this baldness? Sheesh.

    The part about the bone cracking before the runner falls just blew me away. Who comes up with lines like that? You do, obviously.

    The whole progression from fall to "blue heart turned to tar" (!) to the worm digging its own tomb is like a free fall into destruction, and so well put together. But then...life, little irrepressible, maybe inevitable, signs of life. The whole thing is first rate, and an amazing read.

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  2. Well, I do agree with Shay, but will add in my own approach.

    This is a curious poem to me because I tend to read very literally, maybe a bit ploddingly, just trying to follow along. The thing is that you write in such a compelling way, it is easy to get caught up (for me at least) in the sharpness of the imagery and beauty of the language without adding it all together--I'm not talking of Shay here at all --but myself--and so I find ones like this quite complex as they are, for me, more enigmatic in some ways, even though still very compelling and I can tell that they do add up to their final effects, but they are harder to sort of diagram.

    This is rather a swirling poem, with a great deal of word play, I thought, which makes for a certain range of interpretation.

    I kept thinking of the runner almost as a plant--you know a runner of beans or something, because I could see that very clearly as the tender runner, even coming through a tear in the lace of green, and I could imagine the worm gnawing it, and even it growing into a kind of pitch inside, and think of how the worm makes its deathbed in the cocoon of its destruction -- which worked for a metaphor for things about life and trying to live--all the different interpretations do--

    Then I could read it as really following a sunrise in a way = and that lacey pre-dawn pre-light light- being split and the sun coming over the rim = and the entry into the day, like the entry into the struggle of life, beinn really a process of extraction no matter how we try to live it - the worm works on a lot of levels theree--I think of it as plain old worm, but I believe the word is used a great deal, especially in biblical and earlier English writing to talk of the serpent and evil and even a kind of Lucifer sort of figure, and eveil certainly does destroy what it consumes--here the incurious worm seems to be that kind of banal evil which is such a bane of modern life, and so menacing.

    I could read it as a human too--an actual runner--on a kind of chase - the blue heart works veyr well--

    Anyway, all the readings would bring me to the same place in the end - rather bean or human - so itis all very interesting, especially the end - the combination of the growling and the face shyly sticking itself over the rim--a bit of a phoenix chance there--next hope, or the sun-- I am not very coherent, and am having trouble with this iPad - so will have to think of it further --I am glad really there is something sticking itself up over the rim of the past - that can have an ominous quality, I suppose, but I was more affected by the sense of continuity here --and the endless offer of rebeginning, another day in an age where there is sunrise. k.

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    1. Feel free to delete overlong comment! I was on iPad and something about the interface with blogger makes it very difficult to see and edit a comment - I don't know what it is - please do feel free to delete. (No offense taken on my end.) k.

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    2. There's no problem with your comment, k. I'm glad this poem took you down so many winding paths, all to the same place, (and the place I was also going, more or less, though I can't say I often consciously plan my poems.) One of the things I appreciate about your feedback is that it brings its own things to the party--for me that's what poetry is supposed to do for the engaged reader, and I always feel I've at least tackled that job when you can read and appreciate it in such a detailed way.

      btw--I was very sparing here in the use of commas, as Grapeling mentions in the challenge using a style that follows little punctuation--I did add one or two just for you. ;_)

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    3. Ha! I always appreciate commas, almost as much as semi-colons! k.

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  3. well that is rather haunting...starting from the crack...which always gives me a shiver...having heard it quite a few times in life...the worm gnawing its own tomb...the extraction, which is a weird feeling word to me as well...the growling slipping up over the past...loving the layers joy...

    happy wednesday to you...smiles.

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  4. Reading this, hedgewitch, you'd never know that this was formed from a list of words. I think it's stunning.

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  5. You have a singular apocalyptic vision (if that is the correct term for end of times poetry) which seems to contain both the beginning and end of all things at one time. Here I'm struck by the juxtaposition of the lace and tender runner, the sweet extraction and the heart and the obvious signs of destruction in the tear, crack of bone, gnawing worm etc. Then I must remind myself that there is a list of words at play here, and marvel at how they have vanished seamlessly into your overall picture.

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  6. There's so much in this write. The very first line, and the word 'tear' - one of my favorite words because of how it can be read as face-water or as rending, and you don't know until the rest of the line emerges - and so the potential duality each time I read. Then - I've heard that crack in my own bones on several occasions and that's captured perfectly. Then, like Shay I admire "blue heart turned to tar", which contrasts visually so well with the final line "bloody root". "Incurious worm" -ahh. And then the last stanza reminds me strongly of Yeats 'Second Coming' - another apocalyptic poem.

    I appreciate how you took the word list and found elements from which you could build such a darkly beautiful write. ~ M

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  7. to a dead centre
    for the incurious worm
    still gnawing
    its own circular tomb
    in the thing it killed

    just for pure pleasure of macabre

    and

    with the final stanza but
    as ever
    taking the picture
    and all else into immediate
    and prolonged account

    but this one is, for me, V immediate and striking

    I was/am thrilled

    which is why I came here -

    chilling AND thrilling: if it were a woman I would propose!!!

    thank you H


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  8. Love the imagery and sounds Hedge - first crack of the bones, shrill crusher, blue heart turned to tar and finally the incurious worm still gnawing ~


    Beautiful writing ~

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  9. Yes, incredible writing and I was blown away especially by the closing stanza. Wowzers, kiddo!

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  10. okay how about a short comment: YES.

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  11. You thrill some, you confuse some, you inspire some, You dazzle everyone!

    I'm dazzled and confused.

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    Replies
    1. Me, I've been dazed and confused/ for so long it ain't true. ;_) Thanks, G.

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  12. " every factor extracted
    sweetly from its bloody root"

    Lady, you've got to stop. My hair is (was) my best feature!

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  13. slips its face up so shyly
    over the rim of the past?

    A classic line rendered here, Joy! A beautiful take from the so many words given!

    Hank

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  14. The whole thing is just one great line after another loved it!

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  15. I agree with M on the word "tear" for the same reason and then the same gathered me in that got FB!! This was grim, fierce and then you know I love the pairing of factor/extracted!! Love your poem, Hedgie!!

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  16. Holy crap! Your muse has been busy in the cave! This is fabulous. The ending reminds me a bit of Yeats' Second Coming too.

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    1. That's one of my favorite poems, so it probably came creeping out there. ;;_) Thanks, Mary.

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  17. Everyone has said so much and I will simply say WOW!

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  18. Stunning. The exquisite and unswerving detail with which you survey the damage inflicted by a worm on a tender runner gives pause to the implacable brutality intrinsic to the life cycle. Most terrifying is the indifference-- eyes red with intoxication would be more reasonable.
    The subtle ambiguity of the word “tear” followed by the graphic image of the “blue heart turned to tar” implies an emotional carnage that can result from this mindless munching.

    The last stanza utterly cinches it. I keep picturing a child peering shyly over the rim.

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  19. I following Susie. Honestly, sometimes a work just leaves you feeling too dumb to says something smart. I plea dumbstruck and thank you for it.

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  20. What captured me this time was the "circular tomb." What an awesome thing to see a poem take totally different shape while employing some of the same words! I'm glad you re-shared this one...you inspired me to do the same. Thank you!

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