Saturday, December 29, 2007

The English Teacher In Me Can't Help It...

My girlfriend, Olivia, who has to be one of the most brilliant women I know (she is a published novelist who lives a charmed life eating lost of yummy baked goods in New York City. She wrote this book. You should buy it; it's good and funny and sounds just like you are having a conversation with her when you read it, which is what makes it good and funny.) shared this poem on her blog. I was really, really moved by it and wanted to share it with all of you. Read it. I would love to know your thoughts- No 5 paragraph essay discussing its profound imagery or its longing tone is due, just, consider it, and then let me know how it reaches you!!

It made me feel like hugging Jaren as tightly as I could still wasn't holding him tight enough.
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Yellow Stars and Ice
by Susan Stewart

I am as far as the deepest sky between clouds
and you are as far as the deepest root and wound,
and I am as far as a train at evening,
as far as a whistle you can't hear or remember.
You are as far as an unimagined animal
who, frightened by everything, never appears.
I am as far as cicadas and locusts
and you are as far as the cleanest arrowthat has sewn the wind to the light
on the birch trees. I am as far as the sleep of rivers
that stains the deepest sky between clouds,
you are as far as invention, and I am as far as memory.
You are as far as a red-marbled streamwhere children cut their feet on the stones
and cry out. And I am as far as their happy
mothers, bleaching new linen on the grass
and singing, "You are as far as another life,as far as another life
are you."And I am as far as an infinite alphabet
made from yellow stars and ice,
and youare as far as the nails of the dead man,
as far as a sailor can see at midnight
when he's drunk and the moon is an empty cup,
and I am as far as invention and you are as far as memory.
I am as far as the corners of a room where no one
has ever spoken, as far as the four lost corners
of the earth. And you are as far as the voices
of the dumb, as the broken limbs of saints
and soldiers, as the scarlet wing of the suicidal
blackbird, I am farther and farther away from you.
And you are as far as a horse without a rider
can run in six years, two months and five days.
I am as far as that rider, who rubs his eyes with
his blistered hands, who watches a ghost don his
jacket and boots and now stands naked in the road.
As far as the space between word and word,
as the heavy sleep of the perfectly loved
and the sirens of wars no one living can remember,
as far as this room, where no words have been spoken,
you are as far as invention, and I am as far as memory.

11 comments:

Paige said...

Aw, it's a little sad. I love the imagery. I started to wonder what was up when we got to red rivers with cut feet and dead men and nails and such. At the beginning I thought it would be one of those "Guess how much I love you" type things. I liked all of the different "opposites" that she presented. That's all I've got. I was just a music teacher. ;)

Jennifer P. said...

I especially love the comparison of the horse riders. The exact number of days mentioned shows that the author was at a particular point in her life where she felt she'd reached a crossroads--where she and her spouse (?) were becoming as opposite as can be, and yet the opposition is so abstract that they may not be so opposite after all. SO there you go--as a published poet myself, I couldn't NOT disect it a little bit. Been a while since I've been able to read something lovely, so thank you so much for sharing. I'll have to take a look at your friend's book. Isn't it lovely to know 'glamorous' people :)?

Jennifer P. said...

oh yes, and i've been up with a sick child all night, so perhaps my feelings on this poem should not be too considered....

Olivia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Olivia said...

kam--
i'm glad you liked the poem... it's so haunting and beautiful.... it makes me think of mooring posts and "Hudson's Geese"; it leaves me feeling coupled and lonely at the same time somehow.... I love you. And thanks for saying nice things about my book.

Lindsay said...

Kami- I have stumbled upon your blog a few times and I think YOU and IT are darling!! Liz Silverthorne and Kristy Dunning are 2 freinds of mine- I, like Kristy, dated Beau ;) Just thought I'd let you know I like to look at your blog! :) (We live in San Clemente)

Jennifer P. said...

okay--I put some of my work up on my site! Sorry to be the source of so many comments on this entry!

Tonya said...

funny how words in themselves can be benign and empty, but when put together create intense dark images and deep sorrow...

"...rider who rubs his eyes with blistered hands..."

I am fixed on this...the image is so crisp for some reason...

I appreciate this poem and how words can create emotion and convey it in ways that nothing else can...this one is sad and painful, but I appreciate it.

fun, Kam...

Share more like this again...

Tonya

Lindsay said...

I'm so sad you guys moved :( We didn't get to be friends yet! Where did you guys go? What work is J doing?

Emily Loria said...

I love it. Thanks for sharing! ♥

Jennifer P. said...

I've put up a new post, but would still love to hear any more thoughts you had on the last one--but only if you find time. I found myself a bit giddy at the thought of getting some real constructive criticism....always looking for that.

So is your friend related at all to Jeanne Birdsall. I LOVE the Penderwicks and wondered if it was her sister or something!