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How it is

by Elsie 

Posted: 27 June 2008
Word Count: 170


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How it is

Yes, thatís exactly how it is, he says.
Itís like electricity, power.
I sip my wine, content that the point
is not to explain it but to acknowledge

the need to explain it, to tickle the water,
to feel it pause momentarily within my reach
before it glistens away.

I study the sea-smoothed stone, the cuttlefish shell,
the bleached bones unloaded onto the table linen.
I asked what it was, this feeling,
the persistent yearning.

He says itís hope but I disagree. But then I realise
weíre arguing the meaning of words. One meaning
slides into another, given time.

And this beating of the heart, whatís worse,
if it stops or if it doesnít stop?
If it never stops it will be like being trapped
in a lift with my mind clawing at the doors.

The sun slips behind the awning.
The back door to the temporal lobes
closes with a silent click. We step back from the brink,
homesick for the place we were before birth.






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Comments by other Members



joanie at 20:41 on 27 June 2008  Report this post
Gosh, Elsie, you' re prolific at the moment! I find myself returning to this I really enjoyed the experience of reading this - it is wonderful to read aloud, beause of the chatty tone and the feeling that the reader is eaves ping, almost.

I sip my wine, content that the point
is not to explain it but to acknowledge

the need to explain it, to tickle the water,
to feel it pause momentarily within my reach
before it glistens away.
is so perceptive and so RIGHT! Beautiful.

I just love the last line it has been spinning around my mind.

Even as I am about to press ' Submit Comment' , I am returning to read again and again!

Just excellent, as always.

joanie

<Added>

'eaves ping'?! I meant eavesdropping.

Elsie at 13:45 on 28 June 2008  Report this post
Thanks Joanie. (I knew what you meant!) The volume of writing is caused bt having tendonitis - I' m supposed to be resting my foot, which pretty much rules out doing anything much other than writig. And I' m getting into practice for a poem every day for the month of July.

James Graham at 11:51 on 29 June 2008  Report this post
What strikes me about this poem is the degree of reader-awareness there seems to be. It seems to have been written with full awareness of the need to make a complex experience lucid, and communicate it effectively. The poem' s ' event' is partly sensuous, partly emotional, and partly philosophical. The philosophical strand is about when we try to ' explain' certain experiences, but instead find ourselves talking about the ' meaning of words' , and seem unable to touch on the real ' meaning' of what has happened or our feelinga about it. You set out the whole experience very lucidly, especially in the way you make each free verse section add another stepping stone for the reader. So as I read this I feel that even if it' s an experience I've never had in quite the same way, I can still be sure of seeing it clearly.

Of all the things I like about this poem, I must mention the way you convey the power of the sea - it's understated and delicate at first, in the second section; then its power is conveyed obliquely (but more strongly) in the smoothed stone and the other objects; and finally its power to affect us as human observers comes out towards the end - and this human aspect is the strongest and most effective vehicle for conveying the power of the sea. It becomes not so much a huge physical power as a huge force in its influence on us.

I hope this does the poem some justice at least. Let me know what you think about the 'reader-awareness' thing.

James.

Elsie at 13:23 on 29 June 2008  Report this post
Hello james. I always enjoy reading your comments/crits/reviews. You always manage to pick up on things I wasn' t particularly aware of doing, such as the power of the sea reference. This thought about trying to describe a fleeting feeling has been knocking around in my head for years, and a friend did say it was hope, but that didn' t seem to fit what I was feeling. The whole piece is trying convey those ' meaningful' conversations we all have sometimes, and I think it was prompted about listening to my chap trying describe what he calls ' power' , that some might call God, to a neighbour. As far as reader-awareness, I think I' m always trying to be understandable - perhaps I' m more sucessful some times than others! Thanks for your thoughts.

Ticonderoga at 15:49 on 04 July 2008  Report this post
This is a very un-English poem - which is a VERY GOOD THING!
The organic/abstract construct of image and idea has more of a mediterranean or eastern feel to me............rich and salty.

Best,

Mike

V`yonne at 16:04 on 04 July 2008  Report this post
My gosh! just read this. The number of times
weíre arguing the meaning of words
has lead to a full scale row and this stanza just flattened me. It' s exactly the right feeling so well expressed in the lift image.
And this beating of the heart, whatís worse,
if it stops or if it doesnít stop?
If it never stops it will be like being trapped
in a lift with my mind clawing at the doors.


In fact the first point about acknowledgement is spot on too. In fact

BRILLIANT with a few knobs on.

James Graham at 19:10 on 04 July 2008  Report this post
' I' m always trying to be understandable' - and you do succeed, but in this poem outstandingly so, I think. There' s quite a lot going on in it, but everything is available to the reader. Everything is there for the reader to re-create in his/her imagination.

James.


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