Monday, February 23, 2009

“Sounds like somebody’s got a case of the Mondays”

Yep, it’s confirmed: pulse has been taken, temperature gauged. I tried to rid myself of the illness by playing music really loud in the car to no avail. So now I’m doing the only thing that’s left for me to do; I’m going to cite some really great poetry. And because I watched the Oscars last night and am in the mode, I would just like to thank Dr. Dolzani for assigning these amazing poems, and my husband Ken for putting up with my obsessed emails to find them.

The Fish by Elizabeth Bishop
I caught a tremendous fish/ and held him beside the boat/ half out of water, with my hook/fast in a corner of his mouth./ He didn't fight./ He hadn't fought at all./ He hung a grunting weight,/ battered and venerable/ and homely. Here and there/his brown skin hung in strips/ like ancient wallpaper,/ and its pattern of darker brown/ was like wallpaper:/ shapes like full-blown roses/ stained and lost through age./ He was speckled and barnacles,/ fine rosettes of lime,/ and infested/ with tiny white sea-lice,/ and underneath two or three/ rags of green weed hung down./ While his gills were breathing in/ the terrible oxygen/ --the frightening gills,/ fresh and crisp with/ blood,/ that can cut so badly--/ I thought of the coarse white flesh/ packed in like feathers,/ the big bones and the little bones,/ the dramatic reds and blacks/ of his shiny entrails,/ and the/ pink swim-bladder/ like a big peony./ I looked into his eyes/ which were far larger than mine/ but shallower, and yellowed,/ the irises backed and packed/ with tarnished tinfoil/ seen through the lenses/ of old scratched isinglass./ They shifted a little, but not/ to return my stare./ --It was more like the tipping/ of an object toward the light./ I admired his sullen face,/ the mechanism of his/ jaw,/ and then I saw/ that from his lower lip/ --if you could call it a lip/ grim, wet, and weaponlike,/ hung five old pieces of fish-line,/ or four and a wire leader/ with the swivel still attached,/ with all their five big hooks/ grown firmly in his mouth./A green line, frayed at the end/ where he broke it, two heavier lines,/ and a fine black thread/ still crimped from the strain and snap/ when it broke and he got away./ Like medals with their ribbons/ frayed and wavering,/ a five-haired beard of wisdom/ trailing from his aching jaw./ I stared and stared/ and victory filled up/ the little rented boat,/ from the pool of bilge/ where oil had spread a rainbow/ around the rusted engine/ to the bailer rusted orange,/ the sun-cracked thwarts,/ the oarlocks on their strings,/ the gunnels--until everything/ was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow!/ And I let the fish go.

In My Craft or Sullen Art by Dylan Thomas
In my craft or sullen art/Exercised in the still night/ When only the moon rages/ And the lovers lie abed/ With all their griefs in their arms,/ I labor by singing light/ Not for ambition or bread/ Or the strut and trade of charms/ On the ivory stages/ But for the common wages/ Of their most secret heart./ Not for the proud man apart/ From the raging moon I write/ On these spindrift pages/ Nor for the towering dead/ With their nightingales and psalms/ But for the lovers, their arms/ Round the griefs of the ages,/ Who pay no praise or wages/ Nor heed my craft or art.

Okay, now I think I can go on with my day.

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