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Love (4)

by Zettel 

Posted: 10 March 2007
Word Count: 51
Summary: One of a series of short poems designed to capture just one facet of what love can mean


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Love (4)


The little girl

with sun-rapt smile

skipped with joy

among the wild flowers

Entranced

she grasped lovingly

the tender stems

clutching beauty to

her innocent heart

then she cried

bitter guiltless tears

when she found

the loveliness

she held so dear

before its time

had died


Killed by love






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Comments by other Members



Account Closed at 10:51 on 10 March 2007  Report this post
This is a first reading impression.

I don't know if you've ever seen any Japanese childrenís cartoons, such as Pokemon or Dragonball. But they often have scenes where a small child is skipping innocently along and you just know they're about to run into the monster / danger. That is exactly how I imagined the first 9 lines where after the image was broken.

The first idea was the childís innocence. I then found it hard to imagine that child feeling bitter and crying guiltless tears because of a sudden understanding of death and loss and all through the action of flower picking. I find it odd that the child image seems to be purposefully lacking depth, but is quickly followed by adult-experience-type themes, which is unbalancing, in my opinion.

On another level, Iím deeply unsure at the idea of the snapping of a flower, and the snapping of a childís innocence, although I donít believe youíre intentionally creating that metaphor.

Hope this helps,

D.


joanie at 12:41 on 10 March 2007  Report this post
Hi Zettel. I like the spacing and the economy of this. I didn't really see it as a 'snapping of a child's innocence', as Juliet did. In fact, at the end, I still felt the child's innocence.

I thought that the starting point was the adult love, and that you compared it to this brief experience of a child, not that the child has a glimpse of death and loss because of the flowers dying.

I'm rambling; sorry.

I think you could lose 'lovingly' as the emotion is conveyed beautifully without it. Similarly, perhaps even innocent, although that might be too much.

I wonder about the line order in
the loveliness

she held so dear

before its time

had died

It sounds like she held the loneliness dear before its time, but I know what you mean and it's sort of poetic!

I did enjoy this. When do we get to see the full series?

joanie



tinyclanger at 12:56 on 10 March 2007  Report this post
Hi Zettel,
I've read this a few times now and am still stumbling over a coherent reply. I think, that's because, as other's have indicated, there's lots of meaning here...
It seems so simple..but it's not..or is it?

My personal interests gives me another angle too, lost innocence..abuse...??

I don't really know how much I'm reading what's there, and how much I'm imposing.

I'll continue to read and come back, hopefully with more coherent thoughts.
x
tc

Jordan789 at 06:52 on 11 March 2007  Report this post
hey. I like the poem because it captures a lot in a bit. And the message is a great one. The only issue I have with it is that flowers do not instantly change(die), you can pick them and clutch them to your chest and run around with them, probably until the sun goes down, before they even begin to wilt--when they are still beautiful for a while. So, as sudden as the girl's change comes, I don't think the flowers would ultimately cause so quickly of a reaction in her.

I think the idea of the poem is great, but I would like to see the girl's discovery come either at another point, maybe a week down the line when she finds her picked flowers, forgotten, and crumbled in the leaves of a book, or maybe through another means: for example, squeezing her hamster a bit too tightly until one of its eyes pops out(I think a friend of mine might have done this.)

-Jordan


Zettel at 14:56 on 11 March 2007  Report this post
Thanks all for some interesting replies. I wanted to poem to work on more than one level.

First the child's innocent love of beauty as represented by the flowers is what drives her to want to grasp it, keep it, hold it to herself. Then the discovery that when she did this the result was the opposite to what she desired, what drove her to do it in the first place had the opposite effect. I have seen these with my own children excitedly picking bluebells (especially because they are so plentiful) and then the deep disappointment and tears that the beautiful flowers are already dying before you get them to car let alone home and into water. Even in water wild flowers do not last. That is not the place for wild flowers.

So there are here if you will several lessons easily accessible to the child, about nature and flowers and beauty if you will. The child's tears are guiltless because she did not intend or anticipate what happened. And bitter precisely because the opposite to what she intended has happened.

On another level it seemed to me that the image was resonant. That we long to possess another or their love. We literally grasp it and often throttle it with our selfish desire to hold and keep it. And I am sure we all know of possessive relationships where whatever love was there in the first place has been squeezed to death literally by thinking of love as possession. Giving the loved one no space or freedom.

And finally on a philosophical level I wanted to hint at the idea that all beauty is transient and that our task is to accept that. That to accept the inevitability of death is not to hasten it, nor desperately grasp at transient beauty to try to stop it, hold it up, make it permanent. For me the ultimate element of beauty is its transience and the pefect image for that for me is the cherry blossom, and the lilac - because both are beautiful and neither lasts very long.

As for human love - Simone Weil the French philosopher and mystic once said that "perhaps love is an attempt to make permanent that which by its very nature is transient." I rather agree with her.

A lot to hang on a simple little poem and there is more in my rationale than in the poem perhaps. But my approach in these series of poems is to try to find paradigm images which resonate and say perhaps just one thing about one aspect of love.

Sorry to go on, but your thoughtful comments deserved a thoughtful reply.

regards

Z

V`yonne at 16:09 on 11 March 2007  Report this post
I would have liked

Killed by Love

as the title and for this to end

had died

I really liked it. It is poignant and it scans well.


James Graham at 19:14 on 11 March 2007  Report this post
This is a song of innocence and experience. On first reading I thought of Blake, and itís not just a superficial reminder - Ďshe cried/ bitter guiltless tearsí strikes me as very, very Blake. The little girl doesnít feel guilty for picking the flowers, and isnít in tears because she feels sheís done something bad or fears punishment. She cries because living things, including herself, are so vulnerable; she cries because of mortality, her own and that of the flowers.

I think the figure of the little girl, and the scene thatís played out, are in the spirit of Blake too. His children are somewhat idealised, theyíre picture-book children. They illustrate, or act out, a moral or philosophical point. We donít know if they suck their thumbs or have picked up any swear words; it doesnít matter. I can accept your little girl and your poem in much the same spirit.

James.

Account Closed at 19:31 on 11 March 2007  Report this post
I think the figure of the little girl, and the scene thatís played out, are in the spirit of Blake too. His children are somewhat idealised, theyíre picture-book children. They illustrate, or act out, a moral or philosophical point. We donít know if they suck their thumbs or have picked up any swear words; it doesnít matter. I can accept your little girl and your poem in much the same spirit.


How do we (I) tell the difference between that, and something which is plain trite? Because it does leave me dispirited that I can get someone's work so totally wrong.

Davina

Account Closed at 22:01 on 12 March 2007  Report this post

I think the figure of the little girl, and the scene thatís played out, are in the spirit of Blake too. His children are somewhat idealised, theyíre picture-book children. They illustrate, or act out, a moral or philosophical point. We donít know if they suck their thumbs or have picked up any swear words; it doesnít matter. I can accept your little girl and your poem in much the same spirit.


How do we (I) tell the difference between that, and something which is plain trite? Because it does leave me dispirited that I can get someone's work so totally wrong.



- it doesn't matter, I've re-read and now see what everyone's saying. I don't think I put enough space between reading 'On Librarires & Forgetting' which is a very powerful poem, and this one.

Apologies to Zettle if my last comment above appeared to be denigrating his creative work.

Davina


Zettel at 00:14 on 13 March 2007  Report this post
Davina

No apologies necessary. To be honest I often post something wondering for myself whether it is trite or whether it has value. I guess you can only write from the heart and hope for the best. One of the great reasons for posting poems and getting reponses from people with empathy and who have struggled themselves to express deep feelings in their own poems, is that it so to speak keeps you honest. By which I mean, if you know people will tell you truthfully how they respond to a poem (hopefully constructively with a bit of gentleness if critical) then if they do respond, if it does touch them, however slightly, then that is encouragement. And if the criticism is constructive (as for example James's always unfailingly is - we are so lucky to have him) then we improve. Not of course our feelings, they are a given, but simply the effectiveness of the way we express them.

To address your difficult question: In the end I believe poetry like most writing, is an effort to connect with other minds. If it is not a sharing, then it is nothing. As Peter O'Toole wonderfully said in 'Oh Lucky Man' "I used to pray to God then after a while I realised I was talking to myself. I therefore drew the only possible conclusion, I was God." Posting protects us from this delicious logical delusion. Poems can be profoundly honest to one's experience but still be 'trite' in execution. Some of the worst films I know were sincere in their conception and execution. We need the touch of inspiration, magic if you will, and sometimes we fail. But I have read so many poems in this group over the years where wonderfully, so many people have succeeded. Doesn't answer your question, because there is no answer. We'll all write some trite poems sometimes and we'll equally all misjudge a poem. I've done both loads of times.

regards

Zettel

Account Closed at 01:09 on 13 March 2007  Report this post
Thank you, Zettle for your encouraging words. You seem to have put much thought into this and I appreciate your reply, and the humour of Peter O'Toole :)


Davina


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