Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Venturi Effect (Poem)

Andreas Feininger
The View Along U.S. 40 in Mount Vernon Canyon, Colorado*, 1942
Color Transparency 

The Venturi Effect

We set guards in place on one side only,
     not where the slope rises —

there we can see the wearing away
     our effort makes for the climb to the top,

the scuff we imprint by crossing a line
     too soon, ready but without time enough

to allow our sweat to nourish the scrub.
     We can't wait to come up on the side

of the guards running the length of road
     we will us to travel. It's a choice we make

after all: to pull over, to stop, to look down,
     awake to where we've come — or just go on,

eyes straight ahead, ignoring the early warning
     sign to our right, urging we take the curve

slower maybe slowly. In cold start conditions,
     we have nothing to lose, we think. Needing

more room to breathe in rarefied air, we  release
     the choke, let up on the throttle, then gun

our engine through that stretch through the hollow
     where light always vies with shadow.

© 2010 Maureen E. Doallas

I wrote this poem for One Shoot Sunday at One Stop Poetry, which today features a Picture Prompt Poetry Challenge using the image shown above.

Anyone may participate in the challenge. Go here to read about One Stop Poetry's partner and poet Chris G., to whom today's post is dedicated, and to learn what to do to accept the challenge. Be sure to leave there a link to your poem or prose offering.

* Repository of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. (The image above is found here at the LOC's online catalogued collection and here on Flickr Commons Project, courtesy of One Shoot Sunday.)

Andreas Feininger, 1906 - 1999

George Eastman House Still Photograph Archive of Andreas Feininger's Work (selection of 130 images)


Gigi Ann said...

Lovely poem, I esp. liked the line about the choke and the throttle, and then gun our engine... great imagery.

Anonymous said...

Many wonderful life-metaphors here!

hedgewitch said...

Very well-structured, yet unobtrusively so, springing the metaphors on the reader--the venturi effect one, especially-in a nice firm but subtle way. A poem to reread, and that falls in nicely with your Thought of the Day on art, an excellent one.

Glynn said...

Beautiful poem, Maureen. Of course, I say that a lot when I leave a comment here.

It reads simply but this poem is actually far more complex than it appears. So I go beyond beautiful to extraordinary.

dustus said...

Agree with Giovanni's statement and wish to add that the imagery abd dynamics of the poem, in breaking down felt pressures in light of physical theories, reveals great depth to the composition. Cheers.

drew said...

Fun prompt. Great poem. And I KNOW that place. Been there, lived near (though not in 1942).

Thanks for the landscape memory.

Laura said...

I love seeing how everyone interprets the photo. I have not participated, but enjoy looking.

This one takes me back...I recognize the layers, but am not sure I understand them all. Yes, this is one to re-read. Exquisite, Maureen.

Hannah Stephenson said...

Driving, breathing, looking. This poem centers on how we safely navigate ourselves. Lovely poem.

Jenne' R. Andrews said...

hi lovely M-- we know of "cold start conditions"-- that jumps out at me as a potential collection title but I still like "Carry the Weight of the Stars" as beautiful. I'm putting one up even though Mr. Linky has gone back to bad-- on Parola. xxxj

Claudia said...

i love how you weave together the visible with the invisible..great write maureen