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Sunday, 6 July 2008

Poems, mostly roses : fragments and fragrances

Having hit a dry patch recently, I thought I would try challenging myself by setting a weekly topic, preferably one that would not normally suggest itself to me. This is my bag from the week just past. (Don't hold your breath though, the weekly bit will probably not pan out.)


Too many heavy blooms the standard bears,
as though a holy man has bowed his head
beneath too many heavy prayers.

The formal beauty of the rose,
self-replicating in concentric rings,
is neither fractal nor a fractal in a sense -
except the sense that "fractal" has in me.

The landscape changed with every step
and still with every pause for breath it changed
until I came upon the rose and knew at once:
it was the pivot of created things around which turned
earth, stars, and sun and moon and all that was;
that only it was still; that he who sought for stasis
inwardly, must focus on it
and be one with it.

Like many another child I would infuse
rose petals from our garden,
brewing perfume for my mother -
which she'd never use
or give attention to (much less affection),
nor even curiosity. You may conclude
she didn't ever smell of it...
It was the stink, I guess.



If when looking at a rose
you're thinking you have
never truly seen a rose
before, it is most likely
you have meditated
recently or taken drugs -
or found yourself
before great works of art.

My father loved conundrums. "Think,"
he said, "of your electric train...
of going forward on a single track, but then
reversing back without an instant's pause.
Would that be possible?" He drew
the scene so well, I clearly saw
the stationary moment -
and later saw it in a rose:
the way the forward motion
of its growth was stilled
to brief perfection
before decay's reverse.

14 comments:

Lucy said...

'All standeth on change as a midsummer rose...'

I've felt a bit creatively dull and slow of late, and it seems you and a few others have too. And yet this is one of the most delightful poems I've read here. There is something about a rose which seems of another dimension, which you've caught here.

I enjoyed your post on language too; did you know New Zealand English went through a vowel shift some time about thirty years ago?

Conda V. Douglas said...

Excellent idea, Dave, and a great way to challenge yourself and also to get out of a slump. I enjoyed the resulting poem, especially the last stanza.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Dear Dave, you mentioned Wordsworth considering a post of mine, in this egaging poem an echo of Wordsworth is to my ears very strong...that neat, definite plunging back into a memory.
Best wishes, Davide

Dave King said...

Lucy,
Thanks for that, and no, I didn't know that New Zealand English had gone through a vowel shift. Intriguing that it should have happened so recently and that I (and presumably many others) had not picked up on it. Your kind remarks are much appreciated.

Dave King said...

Conda,
Fingers crossed that it works! Thanks for the encouragement.

Dave King said...

Tommaso,
I am not sure my fragment will stand comparison with Wordsworth, bu thanks for the comment. It is very much appreciated.

Robin Starfish said...

Truly wonderful, Dave. Just yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting a large rose garden and was amazed at the variety of color, form, and perfume. I would have loved to read aloud your poem to the roses.

Dave King said...

Robin
Thanks for dropping by and for the encouragement given.

hope said...

Now I know why that little bird picked my rose bush to build that nest. :)

I like the mental pictures you draw.

Dave King said...

Birds move in a mysterious way
their wonders to perform.

Thanks.

Sorlil said...

There's much I like in this, the informal register and sonics pull me through the poem like the 'forward motion' of the rose's growth. Nice one!

Dave King said...

Sorlil
Thanks for that. Encouragement always very welcome!

haiku-shelf said...

I enjoyed it very much to read

"If when looking at a rose ..."

the moment, the very moment ... that`s it!

you visited my blog and so you know that I`m a haiku-poet (not a haiku-poet as Bashô, Buson etc., just a haiku-poet among thousands of ... -- but sometimes even these ordinary haiku-poets make the experience "If when looking at a rose/you`re thinking you have/never truly seen a rose..."


best wishes,
Angelika

(Oberhausen/Germany)

Dave King said...

Haiku-Shelf
Welcome, and thanks for visiting.
Yes, I did visit your blog and fully intend to do so again. I do try my hand at Haiku from time to time, but have not done so for a while. I seem to have phases in which I can and cannot write them.