“Realize that your inner sight is blind…”

In all the struggles I have had with writing, my biggest complaint is that I am not allowed to see where I am going, so to speak. The seven words that make up the title of this blog provided a sort of catharsis and a poem was born. It is a sister and a part two to Writing the Plot: When What You Want Doesn’t Matter, so I would recommend reading it if you feel a little lost (don’t feel bad, I always do).

“Realize that your inner sight is blind”
and paint it black
like ravens
like your memory
Inspiration is sitting on a mushroom eating apples
and looking at you with white fogged eyes
smiling darkly.
“I will never give you stories if you use your eyes to see
and with me, no eye is welcomed.
All the dark you can find is mine
and I will give you what you need.
Let’s begin with what can you hear
now that you know you cannot see.”

 

The moral of this story? Maybe one day I will learn not to argue.

 

 

Keats After Me

The first time I looked up John Keats was after watching part of the movie Bright Star . The 2009 movie, which lost me when Fanny Brawne filled her room with butterflies and then let them die, had left behind the desire to understand exactly what and who I was supposed to be watching. After I had finished my research, I came to the conclusion that the real-life Fanny Brawne had fallen for a sickly man who had presented her with a recycled love poem and that the poet himself, Keats, was a little bit of a jerk.

Fast forward a few years. I have spent most of my time researching prose authors, but feel I have to study poets if I want to  improve my own poetry. I had been at it for a few days when I ran into this:

“I have been astonished that Men could die Martyrs for religion – I have shudder’d at it – I shudder no more – I could be martyr’d for my Religion – Love is my religion – I could die for that – I could die for you.” -Keats to Fanny Brawne, 13 October 1819

Sure you could, Mr. Keats. Sure you could.

His name brought a bad taste to my mouth and I was dubious of his sentiment. But, I’m studying poets and he qualifies. Why not find out what all the hubbub is about?

After reading up on Keats, it didn’t take very long before I thought I was finished with him again. I had come no closer to connecting with his life or with his work. I decided that he was young and idealistic and therefore wrote poetry and love-letters with the dramatic flair of the young and idealistic. I felt that his writing was, for the most part, lip service with lace on it.

With that, I put Keats down once more. But Keats’ work wasn’t done with me. In less than 24 hours after abandoning him again, I ran across this:

“This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calm’d–see here it is–
I hold it towards you.” -Keats
How had I missed this?

Research told me that this poem had been scribbled in the margins of an unfinished manuscript called “The Cap and Bells; or, The Jealousies” while he was on his deathbed and that it had gone unpublished until 1889.

Hmm…

I looked into his work for a third time, deciding to put aside my prejudice and find whatever it had caused me to miss before. That last time is when I learned a thing or two about Mr. Keats.

Firstly, I found that when Keats was less concerned with the beauty of the words and more interested in the emotions he was trying to express, his work was more poignant (“This living hand, now warm and capable”). Secondly, despite his desire to be remembered as a great poet, he detested the laws that bound his poetry (“If By Dull Rhymes Our English Must Be Chain’d”). This was work I could sympathize with.

At the finish of the Keats adventure, I found my own appreciation for him.  His most touching works are reflections on mortality, not romance.  It is when he ceased trying to please the critics, ceased following the rules of poetry, ignored the accepted beauty and forewent the rules of the time that he created true beauty and poetry. It is his struggle against what was celebrated in poetry and his abandonment of the common form that speaks to me as well as what was truly in his beating heart: fear and the struggle to accept a death he knew was coming.

What I’m Thinking When My Mother Reads Aloud An Article About Sherlock Getting a Special

What I’m Thinking When My Mother Reads Aloud An Article About Sherlock Getting a Special:
An Extemporaneous Poem

She said
“They said they would make an announcement
again at 2:21 today”
And I took in the information,
and in my head formed the vague impression
that 2:21 must have meant something.
Still listening
I was thinking how it was oddly specific….
like they were giving us a code…
And just as I looked at her
thinking “I should be taking notes”
Our eyes met
And her silent belief that I already knew
Let me in on the joke
And I managed to say “Oh!”
a second after she dipped her head in disgust and said
“Yah.”

To Rossetti- Love, Courtney

Sometimes mysteries solve themselves. Some mysteries, like the mystery of the dagger, do not. However, I was delighted to discover a mystery hiding right under my nose: a reference to Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s work in Courtney Love’s.

I was reading Rossetti’s poetry when one line rang a bell. As it turns out, Courtney Love’s “Celebrity Skin” makes reference to Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s “The House of Life: 97. A Superscription” (see comparison below). The song also makes reference to Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, but the phrase is such a part of the English language that I overlooked it (pound of flesh).

lovecourtney

There are hundreds of English and literature enthusiasts who will tell you that having a broad and varied knowledge of what has been written, both fiction and nonfiction, poetry and prose, will only enhance your experience of the world. I have to tell you that I agree.

That being said, what I discovered here has made me smile and I look forward to more of the same.

Now if I could just figure out where I heard that dagger line before…

 

 

Fairy Tales

“I guess no one cares for fairy tales,”
said Little Red to her wolfy friend.

And The Wolf said “I guess they think there’s no need. They have what the movies said.”

And Little Red put her hand on his back and ruffled it through his fur.
“If they’d get to know us, they’d see it’s different,” she said with a tear in her voice.
“It’s not all sugar and music.
Even the Mermaid plunged to her death
First with a knife like Juliet and then to the sea.”

“And nevermind what the hunter does to me…”

Red patted his head and gave him a look of apology. “If people would only look us up they’d see we have a bit more meat.”

The Wolf licked her face and crossed his front paws.
“Perhaps that is the problem,”
said he.

Broken Window

Will the roses eat my window
when my window finally rots?
Will vines crush wooden frames
when the summer sunshine stops
and all that’s left of roses
is the vine that holds it together
squeezing for dear life
against winter’s bitter weather?
Will the rose make window’s eyes
look like the looks of lovers
and when winter’s blackness comes,
the evil step mother?
You must decide when you make broken window home
if you can warmly kiss the maiden
and still want the black-eyed crone.