Pages

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Your Sunday Poem


It's a beautiful day, which I hope you all are enjoying very thoroughly. Great day to take your dog for a walk or just remember ghost dogs at the dog park on a long-ago winter's morning. Poem by Billy Collins, one of my favorite poets, from his new book "Ballistics"


DESPAIR


So much gloom and doubt in our poetry--

flowers wilting on the table,

the self regarding itself in a watery mirror.


Dead leaves cover the ground,

the wind moans in the chimney,

and the tendrils of the yew tree inch toward the coffin.


I wonder what the ancient Chinese poets

would make of all this,

these shadows and empty cupboards?


Today, with the sun blazing in the trees,

my thoughts turn to the great

tenth-century celebrator of experience,

Wa-Hoo, whose delight in the smallest things

could hardly be restrained,

and to his joyous counterpart in the western provinces,

Ye-Hah.


11 comments:

Sewertoons said...

Well, Ann, I like the poem a lot, (pretty clever ending!) but yew trees don't have tendrils. (I have one in my back yard.)

Churadogs said...

Poetic license?

Sewertoons said...

Perfect! That's it - happy to grant him that - fascinating poem!

Churadogs said...

Or, maybe he's refering to root tendrils? Do roots have tendrils??

Alon Perlman said...

Rather than wikipedia it, I think tendrils are specialised branch tips.
Recomend replacing "tendrils" with "roots" as we received in public comment.
Examples;
and the tendrils of the yew tree inch toward the coffin.
With
"and the yew tree roots reach (inch by inch) toward the coffin"
Or
"and the yew tree roots yearningly reach toward the coffin".

While the WQCB does not determine the metering or cadence of poetry design, it does concern itself with the outcome of poetic efforts.

This will likely stave off Enforcement action.

The self appointed California Word Quality Control Board.
Issuer of Poetic Licences and Permits.
Protecting the words of California

Word verification: allies

Sewertoons said...

I'm sure that roots have tendrils, and thinking about it - it has to refer to the underground - coffins usually go there! Yew tree roots growing toward a food source once the soggy coffin decomposes, ditto the coffin contents. (Reality is not always pleasant. Nature, ditto.)

That's what is fun about poems - layers and flavors like an onion. Plus a nice crunch when raw!

Sewertoons said...

Alon, you are hilarious! Thanks!

Alon Perlman said...

Seriously Toons, Iv'e got enough to procrstinate on without going to wikipedia, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tendril) You are so lucky that the CSD does not have Botany in it's perview or I'd "go there".
Procrastination December 1 version=
Dishes piled in the sink, Appeal to Coastal comm unwritten. Distractions;Very High tide Investigated at Baywood, Perigrine falcon on 4th street Wire, North of El Moro (1 r) with a crow sharing 3 feet away. Digital Camera with telephoto did not format.
"In botany, a tendril is a specialized stem, leaf or petiole with a threadlike shape that is used by climbing plants for support and attachment, generally by twining around whatever it touches. They do not have a lamina or blade, but they can photosynthesize. They can be formed from modified shoots, modified leaves, or auxiliary branches."
So look what you made me do, now I can't stop.
"The earliest and most comprehensive study of tendrils was Charles Darwin's monograph On the Movements and Habits of Climbing Plants, which was originally published in 1865."
and for wiggle room;
"Tendril can also be used to describe a wisp of hair or indeed anything that resembles the tendrils of plants."

You may get "and the tendril-like roots of the yew tree inch toward the coffin." past the RWQCB, But good luck with the California Compositional Commission.

Sewertoons said...

Alon - thanks! Your procrastinations are very entertaining!

Churadogs said...

"anything that resembles tendrils" Ah, that 'splains it. Collins is too good a wordsmith to get it totally wrong. luckily, he has a bit of poetic license leeway. But you're write, Alon, this likely would have Collins hauled up with a CDO before the Regional Word Board.

Spectator said...

Dem doggies got great ears!