Paradoxical or how to read a poem

in a poem weather’s never weather, there’s something other:
behind that cloud, transitory; in back of sunshine, egg.

if it’s raining, it’s not raining; if it’s bright it’s harsh
if the valley’s brimmed with fog, well maybe…

if it’s snowing and snow is due and a figure is approaching
down a road at dusk, think again. 

if there’s a hawk, it’s not a hawk
(but there’s another hawk in hiding).

when you read a line there’s another line:
the line on the page and the one becoming.

if you were in an MRI machine reading a poem 
you’d see the garden bloom with peonies.   

when there’s a season, there’s another season already: 
autumn portends winter, winter spring in a tumble never done.

when someone says heart or moon it’s something else they’re saying:
heart isn’t valvular, moon’s not planetary

and when I write you, it’s not you
it’s me and the body extending

and of course, when you reach the end of a poem
                                                              that’s the beginning.


Image: Sylvia Sassen c/- Flickr. A bit of silliness inspired by Jane Hirschfield talking about poetry:

“What begins in the body, in the life […] leaves that interior existence when it sets forth into language. Yet the language […] is an attempt to awaken inside […] another what was yours.”

Also linked up to Dverse Open Link Night – where Grace is hosting and celebrates the work of Nobel Laureate American poet Louise Glück.

And for the peony already blooming in you, here’s Japanese musician Haruomi Honsono with Watering a Flower (originally composed as background music for Japanese homewares store MUJI)

26 thoughts on “Paradoxical or how to read a poem

  1. Getting to the inside of the inside, the heart of the heart etc. is the burrowing and explicating of poetic naming. “when you read a line there’s another line: / the line on the page and the one becoming.” Never quite solitary or substantial again. How I love “when I write ‘you’, it’s not you / it’s me and the body extending.” Always becoming.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel like I jumped down a mystic rabbit hole. This is very observational and beautifully penned with thought and intention. I loved these lines the most:

    “and when I write you, it’s not you
    it’s me and the body extending

    and of course, when you reach the end of a poem”

    This is a fascinating perspective, extending beyond the human imagination into something greater transcending being. THAT’S what I’m getting here in my mind from this piece, that there’s the otherness in language reflecting through in each line; different variations, different purposes, different thoughts. There’s always something new and original to find. Amazing poem, Peter. This is probably my favorite of yours yet!

    Like

  3. Such deep reflections on life circular’s journey, the ending as the beginning, one season on to the next.

    I so admire the word phrasing, like its fun, but its not really; like its simple, but its actually complicated. Its like a muse so nebulous is always near yet so far, its hard to grasp in one’s hand. This is my favorite line as its simply magical to the world of writing:

    when you read a line there’s another line:
    the line on the page and the one becoming.

    Like

  4. I would have responded sooner, but I was busy picking up my dropped jaw. This is just masterwork, Peter.

    All the way through: marvelous, and your (perfect) closing lines are perfectly set up by:
    “when someone says heart or moon it’s something else they’re saying:
    heart isn’t valvular, moon’s not planetary

    and when I write you, it’s not you
    it’s me and the body extending”

    My hat is SERIOUSLY off.

    Like

  5. Reading this poem was like falling down the rabbit hole, Peter! You even have Humpty Dumpty in there – the egg behind the cloud. I personally love the maybe of fog and ‘winter spring in a tumble never done’.. You really have captured the Wonderland of poetry here. .

    Like

  6. I absolutely love this! 😀 Indeed, there is always more to a poem than what meets the eye. Especially like; “if it’s snowing and snow is due and a figure is approaching
    down a road at dusk, think again.”💝

    Like

  7. I really love this journey… circular and coming back again… poetry is really something else than it appears at first…

    This
    if it’s snowing and snow is due and a figure is approaching
    down a road at dusk, think again.

    Made me think of Robert Frost… I’m sure you saw him and his little horse there.

    Like

  8. I really love this journey… circular and coming back again… poetry is really something else than it appears at first…

    This
    if it’s snowing and snow is due and a figure is approaching
    down a road at dusk, think again.

    Made me think of Robert Frost… I’m sure you saw him and his little horse there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Björn – glad you liked – I’ll go look up Frost’s poem; I was actually thinking of Thomas Hardy’s ‘A light snowfall after frost’ – in this stanza – which of course is about getting old rather than the weather.

      Like

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