The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
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Poem for Wednesday


Breaking Old Forms
By Pattiann Rogers


One way it's done is by a self-dividing
black seam showing itself across the sphere
of a cave swallow's brown-spotted pink egg,
the splintered cracking commencing,
the shell and its form falling further,
splitting into thin shards like a skim
of ice parceling over shallow mud in March.

Yet this tracery of shattering
shell itself has a form in lines
I could draw with one hand, take apart
again with the other.

Or breaking an old form
might be like lifting the naked
network of a spring sycamore explicitly
out of the field, moving it straight
into the body, creating a new union
thereby of branching bone-twigs
in the breast, an arboreal tangle
of sustenance in the blood-rooting
vesself of the breast, the old ways
of grief or joy in the breast breaking open
like the red softness of buds in April.
Even the habitual breathing
of April itself could be paced anew
by this repositioning.

Is the decrepit pattern of winter
realigned when two eagles, screeching,
feathers erect, clasp claws mid-heaven,
latch and fall, spinning together
momentarily upside down inside
a harsh, grey wind of snow?
This very question might be broken also
into pieces by the piercings of a thousand
perfectly aimed summer stars demolishing
immediately any winter drama.

If the old form of death could be fully
understood -- a form like naked claws
latching together mid-breath, a structure
of falling like furled ice closing
around the blood of a red blossom --
then someone might break death apart too
with a thousand lines aimed perfectly
at the welds of its network. Or someone
might simply shatter its structure
by lifting it carefully with one hand,
moving it, as if by love, right into the body
with the other, its decrepit habits
taken in, encompassed anew, surprised
by this endearment, coaxed to yield
to such a gentle form of union.

--------

From Pattiann Rogers' new book, Generations. I am sure I've mentioned before that she is my favorite living poet; "Trying Magic", for instance, was one of the first poems of the day I ever posted in this journal. Generations is absolutely wonderful -- I just got it, haven't even read it all the way through -- and this poem pushed so many of my buttons today that it made me cry after I didn't think I could cry anymore.

I got only a couple of hours' sleep last night so I don't have much energy to talk about much of anything. casira's HP fic "In the Turning" was my catharsis for the morning, recced by heidi8; the pairing very nearly made me not read it, but I am so glad I did. It's pretty devastating.

I owe about a hundred comments and I have two articles to write before I get to those but I wanted to get this posted before running out -- I'm having lunch with gblvr and perkypaduan, because there is nothing like discussing politics and perversion in a Mexican restaurant to restore one's equilibrium. I want to say a huge thank you to various people who commented and sent notes yesterday but I particularly want to hug hallucinateme and mrkinch. Also, the LJ Fairy visited me in the form of evildrem, who is also my source for Russell Crowe squeeing -- someone recommend me a gift for the Highlander fan who has everything. (beeej, am counting on your help on this; will talk to you tomorrow.)

My Tarot card today from Arianna's Daily Tarot: The Hermit: Today we focus on self-reflection. Make time in your busy life to focus on you. Go within to see your motivations, decide why you are doing the things you are. It is a day to take a step backwards, slow life down to make sure you are going in the right direction. Even surrounded by people you can feel spiritually alone, take time to see the restrictions in life and face these challenges head on. Go forward seeing clearer by taking time for reflection.


A snake we saw at Washington Monument State Park, dug out of the earth by the park crew that was rebuilding the flood water diverters and left exposed long enough for us to admire it. I've never seen a snake this blue out of a zoo. Once again I must show my ignorance (I will never be Pattiann Rogers at this rate, let alone Stephen Maturin) and ask: Anyone know what kind it is?
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