Sunday, January 11, 2015

Cactus Eye


Cactus Eye





The cactus eye is watering
watching, thinning,
its saving all in vain.
The needed day is now;
unindemnified, unsanctified
the indifferent sun will magnify,
will dry the drops of living
at its root,

and the bulge it held so long, life
parsed from long-fingered air, will shrivel
split the skin and spit the spines,
consume itself the nectar 
hidden in its wounds. The hungry dark
will fall like sharp-faced birds
and the cactus eye will close
at last dried blind.



~January 2015







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Weekend Challenge: The Poetry of David Huerta
Grace (Everyday Amazing) brings the work of the Mexican poet David Huerta to us for inspiration. Reading  the poems she shared, as well as some of those in her linked translation of Before Saying Any Of The Great Words, led me here, though I'm not sure how.






Images: The eye like a strange balloon goes to infinity, 1882 by Odilon Redon
Public domain via wikiart.com  I have slightly tinted this image.
Photo of the northern lights seen from space, author unknown.


24 comments:

  1. Ah. A lot of wisdom here. I think of one saving for a rainy day in the pouring rain--this kinds of turns that on its head--saving the moisture at the eye, while parching at the root. On a comic level, I am reminded of a story in Terry Pratchett about a character's relative who is protected from an arrow wound by the Pratchett equivalent of a Bible carried in his breast pocket (that deflected the arrow aimed there.) The character then sighs that it was a shame about the other seventeen arrows.

    This is not only personal (and horticultural) wisdom, but feels like a great (read, "horrible") metaphor for the world right now. Very well realized here--sharp-faced birds is an especially great description, I think of very acute beaks--anyway--very strong--you have Huerta's unsanctified and unindemnified outlook on things but use it in your own way. Also, just love the Redon. Thanks. (Sorry also to bug you so much with my personal angst.) k.

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    1. I relate to your personal angst, k. Thanks--this poem was a lot more personal at first but it sort of did what poems do sometimes, turned into who knows what the more I worked on it. I love the Pratchett gem you shared.

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  2. I have to say this one really spoke to me as I'm trying to make changes, wanting to do them now, but feeling like I have to be patient. That rainy day thing.

    Teresa from Eden Hills (dang blogger only lets me post if it has the check box that I'm not a robot; can't do the captcha thing)

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    1. Thanks for telling me that, Teresa. I need to go look at my permissions because a lot of people are having trouble using their WP id's--and thanks so much for reading, as well.

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  3. Dear readers, I have enabled word verification for the moment. Please tell me if this makes it harder or easier for you to post with your preferred ID.

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  4. The ending imagery is stunning, the cactus eye will close at last dried blind ~

    I am happy that you liked Huerta's translated poems HW ~ Thanks for participating and wishing you happy weekend ~

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  5. The irony of hoarding past the moment of need--the catch 22 of limiting what is possible! And yet how dependent is beauty on clear and present endings.

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  6. First of all the rhythm and assonance is exquisite. This beat with drums and begs to be read aloud.. But the imagery is even better.. The cactus eye, and the split the skin and spit the spines.. Exquisite and better than the inspired poems I think.

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  7. Whoa! Another intriguing verse.
    ZQ

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  8. I love how reading this compares to handling a cactus--with care! Bjorn's observations are right on, but I also agree with Manicdaily that--especially in the first stanza-- the poem speaks to me in urgency about the world today: we need to open our eyes now.

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    1. Thanks, Mark. Yes, cacti are devious little plants in their way, but well-made for what they have to endure. And that is the focus I was trying to apply, the world under assault on all fronts, her old protections dying.

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  9. "The hungry dark
    will fall like sharp-faced birds
    and the cactus eye will close
    at last dried blind."
    Powerful...We often hold on too long..hold on until we feel the sting and still not want to let go.

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  10. Your ekphrastic work always astounds me, Hedge. Such meaning and poetic brilliance brings a great new depth to the images. Excellent and enjoyed.

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  11. This certainly was a great abstraction between a flower of a cactus and that of humanity. I could feel a sense of bewilderment of the universe in this.

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  12. the thought of being forced to look into the sun open eyed...until your eye dries out...
    is a rather painful thought....

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  13. This is so bleak. It's well written indeed, but it is just so hopeless that it's hard to read, knowing you wrote it.

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  14. I agree with Bjorn... it begs to be read aloud.

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  15. It's been fascinating to see how the various Toad poets have sung Huerta back from their own lily-pads; intertextualism is our lingua franca, doncha think? And poems, being so close to dreams, are potent channeling devices for what is deepest in each of us ... The Huerta poem you worked from is so different in style from the others, some dollop of mescaline turns the tight verse into a Unicorn hobby-horse gallop. Lots of refractive surfaces in it, fer sure... I read a deep tragedy in this, that the earth won't be able to outlast the anthropocene, that the unleashed torrent of heat and sun will dry up all the reserves long enough to kill off even that cactus. Nature's defenses are measured against threats that have outgrown themselves. The fade of the cactus eye has such pathos -- "watering," as if its own tears were enough to save it from the next day. And when the lights go out for Cactus -- well, as Sylvia said, it's "blackness and silence." Yikes. So many arid landscapes in the Spanish poets (Machado especially), they know that desert, love it deeply, though it's hard to praise what's vanishing so fast. Fine stuff. (PS, my WP hasn't had problems leaving comments until I tried to leave this one -- then it told my my blog was a malicious site. So I'm using my Gmail Oran ID).

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    1. Thanks, B. This is another one you've read perfectly--it started out as a more personal metaphor, but after a few lines it seemed to be less about me and more about other, larger things, like the systematic murder of our planet for money. I was reading Huerta's Machinery and it seemed to evoke this sort of feeling, even though it was really much more of a love poem. O well--it comes, and we write it, AFA Blogger, it is really cranky these days. I hate word verification anyway, so I am going back to disable it again. I think the problem people may be having is posting from iphones. This is an "old" template by today's insane standards.

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  16. Your poetry is beautiful ... thanks for sharing ... your poem makes me shiver ... but no worries ... it's all good ... just like this Canadian winter ... everything is gonna be alright ... Love, cat.

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  17. Visiting again--you know there's a beautiful underlying set of meaning here--a heard subtext of the cactus I in place of eye-- That part of us that feels required to be spined and full of defense - a bit like our own polyphemus== and even in terms of off-spring--etc--so many heard meanings not directly there or perhaps not even intended but words are so amazingly tricky as is the mind in terms of folding in on themselves and expanding too. k.

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    1. Thank you for the revisit, k. Yes, when I wrote this the first time, it was that "I" I was meaning, I was called a 'cactus' once by a young lady who stole my boyfriend--(she was very lucky I am a non-violent sort, as I was working with chain saws at the time) --but she had a point, and it, of course, isn't just me--we all grow our spines, and the process of deflating that swell of not-so--life-giving fluid we accumulate is all about splitting the skin and spitting them out. But I got drawn into the image of a larger eye, a planetary one. Anyway, I so appreciate the second read. Hope you are not freezing--tomorrow we finally thaw and we go back to the normal 50's. The chickens can't wait.

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  18. Great imagery throughout... and the beginning is intense. Well-penned.
    I apologize for being so late in visiting your link for the prompt.
    Good day.
    -HA

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