Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It's Tuesday...

I am a master at wasting time, let me tell you...

I've decided to dedicate my 'time off' to producing new work, reading, and just surrounding myself with poetry. I've had this fear that without my weekly 'workshops', I'll stop writing.

And, well, as much as I try to give myself some sort of writing structure, it's kind of happening. Ugh.

In my time since graduating two weeks ago, I've written one poem and did one freewrite. And really they're not even that good...

So maybe its time to refocus? Perhaps.

When I get 'stuck', I like to try reading. So I picked some Amy Clampitt today, since, well, I'm obsessed with plants and from her poems it seems as though she may have been, too! :D I'm impressed. I just had to share this poem:

Nothing Stays Put - Amy Clampitt

The strange and wonderful are too much with us.
The protea of the antipodes—a great,
globed, blazing honeybee of a bloom—
for sale in the supermarket! We are in
our decadence, we are not entitled.
What have we done to deserve
all the produce of the tropics—
this fiery trove, the largesse of it
heaped up like cannonballs, these pineapples, bossed
and crested, standing like troops at attention,
these tiers, these balconies of green, festoons
grown sumptuous with stoop labor?

The exotic is everywhere, it comes to us
before there is a yen or a need for it. The green-
grocers, uptown and down, are from South Korea.
Orchids, opulence by the pailful, just slightly
fatigued by the plane trip from Hawaii, are
disposed on the sidewalks; alstroemerias, freesias
fattened a bit in translation from overseas; gladioli
likewise estranged from their piercing ancestral crimson;
as well as, less altered from the original blue cornflower
of the roadsides and railway embankments of Europe, these
bachelor's buttons. But it isn't the railway embankments
their featherweight wheels of cobalt remind me of, it's

a row of them among prim colonnades of cosmos,
snapdragon, nasturtium, bloodsilk red poppies,
in my grandmother's garden: a prairie childhood,
the grassland shorn, overlaid with a grid,
unsealed, furrowed, harrowed and sown with immigrant grasses,
their massive corduroy, their wavering feltings embroidered
here and there by the scarlet shoulder patch of cannas
on a courthouse lawn, by a love knot, a cross stitch
of living matter, sown and tended by women,
nurturers everywhere of the strange and wonderful,
beneath whose hands what had been alien begins,
as it alters, to grow as though it were indigenous.

But at this remove what I think of as
strange and wonderful, strolling the side streets of Manhattan
on an April afternoon, seeing hybrid pear trees in blossom,
a tossing, vertiginous colonnade of foam, up above—
is the white petalfall, the warm snowdrift
of the indigenous wild plum of my childhood.
Nothing stays put. The world is a wheel.
All that we know, that we're
made of, is motion.



I'm just really in love with her vocabulary at the moment. Here I am, taking notes... lol.

But really, I admire how she uses the language of plants to talk about something else - immigration. This poem was written in the 90's. How might we describe today's immigration situation in the language of plants?

That, to me, sounds like a poem I have to write :)

1 comment:

  1. Katie, I look forward to reading it, and the 2 poems mentioned in your last post also. I'm thinking I should read and write some plant poems...

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