I've been aware for some time of shying away from images in my poetry – if that's possible - and opting instead for inhabiting characters, telling their stories, focusing on rhythm and rhyme, for how a poem sounds is where much of its magic lies, for me. I thought I was well outside the fold with this lapse of image – they are what critics comment on, after all, and students get told to look for, since they body forth 'themes', another subject I hope to talk about soon. Then browsing yesterday, I came across these lines from a poem by Marie Ponsot, whom my friend Ricky and I went to hear read at Poets House in NYC a few years ago. (Thanks again, Ricky.)
To see clear, resist the drag of images.
Take nature as it is, not Dame nor Kind.
Act in events; touch what you name. Abhor
easy obverts of natural metaphor.
Of course the poem moves on from there into some fine images, but the lines say what I was thinking so good, I had was to share them. And check out de lady rhyme and riddim... Hot, hot, hot. Look on those spondees roughing up the pentameter. Long time since I buck up spondees doing them thing so good. And a likl rhyme there, just leggo from her pen, unexpected so, like a googlie. Very nice.
from "Pathetic Fallacies Are Bad Science But" in SPRINGING: NEW & SELECTED POEMS (New York: Knopf) 2002, p 33.
The second poem in the book, "Drunk & Disorderly, Big Hair", done in dactyls (Who writes a poem in dactyls? Who CAN write a poem in dactyls?) is worth buying the book for.
Poll results: of five voters, four thought Louise Bennett should be declared a national hero and one didn't. I'd love to hear the reasons of the one...
Stay out of strong winds. Likklemore.