The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Sunday

By Ruth Stone

When you come back to me
it will be crow time
and flycatcher time,
with rising spirals of gnats
between the apple trees.
Every weed will be quadrupled,
coarse, welcoming
and spine-tipped.
The crows, their black flapping
bodies, their long calling
toward the mountain;
relatives, like mine,
ambivalent, eye-hooded;
hooting and tearing.
And you will take me in
to your fractal meaningless
babble; the quick of my mouth,
the madness of my tongue.


From Poet's Choice by Edward Hirsch in today's Washington Post Book World, on the connection between poetry and birdsong, which quotes several eminent poets on writers being like singing birds and cuckoos, plus the idea of birds as the embodiment of a transcendence. "It may be that a remnant of magical practice clings to a poet like Stone when she speaks of 'crow time' and 'flycatcher time,' or when she mimics and even embodies 'the fractal meaningless babble' of crow song," notes Hirsch. "There is something irrational in poetry, which still trembles with a holy air."

This poem hit entirely different buttons for me though: you know the comfort when you're talking to someone who really, really knows you, and you can just say anything and you know it won't matter because that person loves you and whatever comes out of your mouth will be forgivable? That's what it makes me think of, not birds.

Last night a story made me write it. It's very tangentially Harry Potter and more than one part Mary Sue, though not at all in a romantic or saving the universe sense. (I am desperate for a new beta reader by the way -- not for this, I doubt this is meant to be displayed in public, but in case Faramir makes me write this story he's nudging me with or in case betareject's advice on T&C takes root.) Anyway, I wrote this story down yesterday, then I wondered how many other such stories tried to make me write them in the past year but I blew off in favor of writing other things.

I've been realizing that I greatly favor writing with someone over writing alone when it comes to fan fiction, and wondering why that is. I'd been thinking that it's because the friendships matter to me more than fic itself, which they do, but I've also had to really rethink what constitutes "friendship" online, where it seems so much more common to go from telling someone everything to not speaking to them within the space of 24 hours than ever happens in real life outside of ugly romantic breakups. I know a lot of people have written about the confusion that RP can cause -- you're not sure whether you love the person you're writing with or whether your Duncan loves her Methos or whatever. Is that true of writing collaboration in general, the level of intimacy required to write with someone being so great that it's very difficult not to overlap one's own emotions with those of characters, and it being equally difficult to separate out criticism of the story and criticism of the storyteller?

Yesterday was quiet: we did chores, bought presents for the parties the kids have today, got Shrek 2 and took it home and watched it after the younger son out to dinner because the older son had a sleepover. Today is going to be quiet too, I think, with Hebrew school and soccer this morning, taking kids to the birthday parties and for haircuts this afternoon, and finishing the chores I started yesterday. But I have an enormous taping dilemma tonight: Sean Bean in Henry VIII, the History Channel's special on Alexander the Great, Jennifer Connelly on Inside the Actor's Studio and CBS's Dallas reunion (shut up, it was five years of Friday nights babysitting in junior high and high school and I still adore Linda Gray) are all on at the SAME TIME. What do I do?!

Demon cat eyes watching gerbils in a dark kitchen.

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