Thursday, July 06, 2006

Between The Lines: Two Sonnets and a Zen Affirmation Poem 

The Smith College Japanese Teahut Produced five or six full sonnets and some fragments over the bookwriting weekend, mostly in order to keep the fingers flying even when my mind needed a break from trying to generate a chapter and then some in only 72 hours (and during a heatwave).

Call 'em the Smith College Sonnets, though not all come in at 14 lines. I've included three here, just for fun. Each was produced in less than twenty minutes; all need work, though the Zen Affirmation poem seems complete somehow -- it captures the duality of the writing moment, perhaps. Comments more than welcome.

Smith College Sonnet #1

I am looking for a place to write this poem
In the shade of the trees by the circular pond.

The teahouse gazebo is occupied
By a pair of Smith students in stereotype,
Chunky, and with the same black stringy hair.

Here there is a wildflower garden
in someone’s memory, with two bridges
to go across the marshy streamlet
and back again, while admiring the swamplillies.

In the lake, the ducks dive and disappear
In sequence like synchronized swimmers
Besequined in a cinematic musical number.

They are gone a long time.
It feels like they will never come up.

Smith College Sonnet #4

Just now the pagoda was empty, only when I came closer
This couple came out of nowhere and sat down.
Now I’m sitting on a rock by the water.
My back hurts, and my brain is a little fried
From too many blocks walked in the heat
Wearing long pants. My underwear is cutting into me.
They have a picnic in paper bags. I hate them.

I’ve got to stop trying to say what the book is about
And let the book be about what it is going to be about.

I’ve got to stop making excuses, and write.

Down along the bank, a dog is swimming
Somewhere I can't see through the grasses
A man throws the ball into the water again and again
I can hear his voice come back off the water.

3. Zen Affirmation Poem
(written in the Japanese garden, Smith College, July 3, 2006)

I am one with the ripples
That spread from those rising bubbles
Over there. Maybe there's a fish.

It’s easy to say “ignore the mosquitoes”
But one just bit me.
Maybe to truly ignore the mosquitoes
Is to miss out on the pleasure of squishing them
Against your arm.

These frogs are really goddamn loud.
Huge, too. They jump all over each other.

Put something beautiful here
About how the heron flies so effortlessly,
Or something.

A thought: I come with room to grow,
a medium coffee in a large cup.

Also, people keep walking by with bathing suits on.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:50 PM |

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