Tuesday, November 9, 2010

From the Bridge (Poem)

From the Bridge

Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you dream it, with me, the pull of smoky depths sliced through
     with the jagged diamond light of falling stars?
Did you hear it, how the syncopation of words knocked off
     the rail, not making time with the heart's own rhythms?
Did you feel it too, that single infallible catching of the breath,
     holding in the air the length of the fall?
Did you too taste it, the crumbed bread gone to mold,
     the fruit of the wine turned to bitters?
Did you imagine it, at last, looking up, his face in the moon
     and a hand out?

© 2010 Maureen E. Doallas

I wrote this poem in response to two challenges. The first was posted at Poets at SheWrites, an online group to which I belong at SheWrites. My friend, the poet Jenne R. Andrews, came across Mary Oliver's "The Swan" (originally published in The Paris Review, No. 124, Fall 1992) and, offering it as a prompt for a poem, suggested we take a line from "The Swan" and then go in any direction in crafting a poem of our own. I selected the first line: Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river? The second challenge was posted by poet L.L. Barkat at The High Calling for this week's Random Acts of Poetry (RAP) event. It calls for writing a catalogue poem, in which words repeat at the start or end of a series of lines, the repetition meant to build and, as L.L. explains, "create a sense of magic, a feeling of the mystical, or even or prophecy or praise. . . [to transcend] a person's thoughts and cares, moving him to a different frame of mind. . . ." L.L.'s own examples of catalogue poems can be found here and here.

For more information about catalogue poems and how to write them (confession: I wrote my poem before looking up the term), go here and here.

RAP is open to anyone. If you would like to participate, post your poem on your blog and link back to The High Calling for other contributors' links and a possible feature in this week's follow-up post. Be sure to leave your link in L.L.'s comment box by Wednesday, November 10.

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I offer this poem also for One Stop Poetry's weekly "One Shot Wednesday" event. Be sure to visit the site late Tuesday afternoon and every Wednesday for links to the many contributors' "one shot" poems.


n. davis rosback said...

well done
well covered
well liked

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

The imagery in this poem is striking. I especially admire your 'courage' in trying to do anything with this Mary Oliver poem, The Swan, which to me is simply unsurpassed as an epitome of her poetry, her philosophy of the world and her take on the literally "life-changing" challenge posed by beauty. I think you have acquitted yourself admirably well on all counts, Maureen. Congratulations.

Glynn said...

I love the the "did you's" -- the exploration of the senses -- see, dream, hear, feel, taste, imagine -- all brought together as a whole.

Kathleen Overby said...

This is such a difficult form. Did it take some work for you or did it come easily?

S. Etole said...

did you know him ... I feel as though we met

Susanne Barrett said...

Stunning. My favorite part is, "how the syncopation of words knocked off/ the rail, not making time with the heart's own rhythms" -- I can see it, feel it, almost hear it.

Susanne :)

Brian Miller said...

hand out..and do i take it...nice write...some great lines...

dustus said...

Your word choice engages the senses and also considers states of mind... renders a hyperreal effect for the reader. Fine poem that incorporates interesting perceptions.

L.L. Barkat said...

These are so hard to write well. I loved the end especially. The sound of it, and the sense.

moondustwriter said...

there's a beautiful heart beat in your poem.

I feel the progression from seeing to knowing..

thanks for sharing Maureen and for your daily support of so many writers and artists

Love from the Moon

poemblaze said...

A lot of great imagery and a lovely working of the sound and structure of sentences.

Steve said...

Good use of repetition/progressive language and structure.

Eric Alder said...

Bridges have such motivational power, don't they? They can certainly be seen from different vantage points - connectors, transcenders, surveyors, overseers - plus there's usually a body of water (or two) involved, which only adds to their strength.

An intricate One Shot, Maureen!

Claudia said...

did you see, hear, dream, feel...i love that you involved all the senses ..beautiful maureen

Beachanny said...

This was a difficult form..and not easy to parse. I read The Swan which I never knew before. But you departed from there shortly after starting..down a sinuous and sensuous stream beneath the bridge, I think to love: "his face in the moon and a hand out?"
Gay @beachanny

Shashi said...

Dear Maureen
I enjoyed this one so much..
You have a powerful way of creating images.. like
'Did you dream it, with me, the pull of smoky depths sliced through
with the jagged diamond light of falling stars?'
...and I enjoyed it throughly... thanks for sharing..

ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
Twitter: @VerseEveryDay
Blog: http://shadowdancingwithmind.blogspot.com

Pete Marshall said...

a completely different style for you but it was a wonderful, magical write...thanks for sharing pete

Beachanny said...

Dear Maureen,
Last night I think I read too many at one time. I realized this morning that I was pleased with myself for thinking I had worked through your poem and form, and didn't even tell you how beautifully you completed the challenge and what a work of art I thought it was. Sorry about that. It really was a journey for me to read and study your work and like all good works of art unfolded something new and different. Thank you, Gay