Originally Blogging the Artist's Way. Thoughts, musings, experience of the 12-week course, January to March 2006. And after that?.... Life, creativity, writing. Where does it all meet? Here, perhaps.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Poetry Thursday. Carrying a Poem Around

How about a poem about a poem about carrying a poem around? Stay with me. I think I can explain. There's a Billy Collins poem called Japan, (read and hear it at the link) about having a Haiku with him throughout a day. It's beautiful. Delicate. In the same way as he speaks of repeating the Haiku, I can come again to lines of this poem, or read it over and over. It's the poem I thought of first when I saw this week's Poetry Thursday prompt. And then, I remembered that I'd used the idea from that poem to write a poem last year, and I called that poem After reading Billy Collins' "Japan". It was prompted by hearing a dear friend speak about what she does when she is learning a passage from Sacred Scripture. She carries it with her, and if she's standing in a queue, or waiting somewhere, she takes it out and reads it. I was very moved by this idea. Of not becoming impatient, of not using the time to complain or get involved in trivia, but to feed the soul. I think this is also what we do when we carry a poem about. We feed the soul. [The word Baha in the poem means Glory]

After reading Billy Collins’ Japan
(for Val )

He talks of carrying three lines,
room to room throughout his day,
pondering bells and moths
and temples,
telling the lines to his mirror,
to his dog,
fingering the seventeen syllables,
each like a bead,
a prayer to roll on his tongue.
Through to the night,
he carries it.

You tell me of the Glory-words
you carry by your heart:
In your car – Bahá;
on your way to the shop;
stowed in your handbag
with lipstick and mobile phone – Bahá;
picked up and sipped
in moments through your day –
Bahá, Bahá,

There are more Poetry Thursday entries HERE

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At 1/9/06 1:37 am, Blogger bgfay said...

You sound as though you've been reading Billy Collins a lot. I know a guy who is complaining that too much poetry is sounding like Billy Collins now that he's so popular. I squinted at him and cocked my head to the side when he said it just to show that I couldn't quite figure him out. If Billy Collins's popularity got ten people to sound like him and write poems the way he does, it would be good. That hundreds and maybe thousands out there are doing it seems to me beyond great. Your poem is good and carried me along. It also made me go back to the original. Nicely done.

At 1/9/06 2:08 am, Blogger GreenishLady said...

I take it all as a compliment. Thank you!

At 1/9/06 3:29 am, Blogger deirdre said...

I like the idea of carrying a poem to feed the soul, reading it during the moments when frustration or impatience might otherwise step in. Your poem has a grace to it, like a meditation.

At 1/9/06 3:31 am, Blogger Paul Decelles said...

WOnderfully matched poems...repetition and carrying from room to room if you will is so important in the contemplative life.... as in poetry.

At 1/9/06 5:27 am, Anonymous leonie said...

i love this poem and the idea of the poem. thanks for sharing.

At 1/9/06 5:29 am, Blogger Catherine said...

I love "fingering the seventeen syllables/ each like a bead"
I thought it might be a line you had borrowed from Billy, but then I read his poem and saw that it wasn't. In fact I love both poems.

At 1/9/06 8:26 am, Blogger sheela said...

Glory-words carried in the heart and sipped through the day - So beautiful!

At 1/9/06 8:59 am, Blogger Kamsin said...

I guess the Scriptures are called 'Daily Bread' for a reason. Just like Collin's haiku being like a grape. The words are things to be eaten and digested until they become a part of you. I guess that just as the health of our bodies reflects the quality of the food we put in them, the health of our spirit will all reflect the quality of the words and images we feed it. Great choice of poems.

At 1/9/06 9:02 am, Blogger Kamsin said...

Oh, and I'm glad you appreciated the Yeats poems I posted. Thanks for commenting on my blog.

At 1/9/06 3:10 pm, Blogger Tarakuanyin said...

A beautiful poem. I will think of it today as I move from room to room. Thank you.

At 1/9/06 3:25 pm, Blogger Tammy said...

"fingering the seventeen syllables, each like a bead, a prayer to roll on his tongue." Brilliant! I hope you share this with haiku club :) Perfect choice for theme!

At 1/9/06 4:50 pm, Blogger Becca said...

Wonderful combination, and your poem is a perfect companion to the Collins poem. I loved his descriptions of telling the haiku to everthing, and how the meaning changed depending on who was hearing. And I love your idea of "glory words," carried in the heart. I'll be focused on choosing mine all day :)

BTW, I'm really new to poetry and had never read/heard of Billy Collins, so thanks for the intro. I'm off to look for more...

At 3/9/06 5:21 am, Anonymous Fran aka Redondowriter said...

Haiku is one of my favorite genres when life gets too complicated so hearing Billy Collins' voice reading his words about haiku was very meaningful. Especially whispering the haiku in each of the dog's white ears. And your poem, also exquisite. I've never thought of carrying a poem before, but it sounds look a great idea. I do carry spiritual symbols, so why not a poem?

At 3/9/06 10:11 am, Anonymous tinker said...

Feeding the soul is important - yet too easy to forget. Thank you for the reminder, the poem and the meal ticket for the soul.

At 4/9/06 5:55 pm, Blogger pepektheassassin said...

Terrific! Great poem for the prompt. I loved the idea, but didn't really write anything for it. Wish I had written THIS tho'!


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