Sunday, July 31, 2005

"Minimal Sound"

I'm headed back to the FAWC today, this time for a week-long poetry workshop with Mark Wunderlich. And a little beach time.

Generally, I don't like poems about poems. Barbara Guest's newest book, The Red Gaze, is an exception; each poem continues a reflection on the poet's art. It is full of little glimpses of detail, memory, and color. The following poem is on page 29:

Minimal Sound

What we are becomes a memory, the hand may open a secret lock.

The poem enters on tiptoe, climbs the terrain,
weary, it listens to minimal sound, the slowed
tree branches are drawn on purpose, part of the same program.

Here, the poem's world is fragile; the poem itself must tread very carefully, and it has become "weary," perhaps of trying so many times to capture the truth of the world. The poem's talent is it's ability to hear "minimal sound," the smallest bit of detail or movement or color, the qualities that would be scared off by a loud entrance. Then, the writing: "the slowed / tree brances are drawn on purpose," the poem listens carefully to the world it inhabits, but eventually must stop and put down on paper what it finds.


Michael said...

What a wonderful way to capture the very nature of poetic truth in words.

Danny said...

...And poetry uses the rhythm of the senses to magnify that minimal or almost nil sound.

Lovely post.