Monday, April 14, 2014

Meme Monday on the Margins Mash-Up

I had this mini-epiphany last week; usually in the morning I sit down with breakfast and check my email and return messages and work on course stuff and check Facebook before I settle down to writing. Sometimes I leave blogging until after supper. On Thursday morning, I wrote my blog post before doing anything else. And I felt this incredible surge of happiness and accomplishment. Now I realize I'm not always the quickest study, but the lesson seemed obvious.

So this morning I was all set to write my Meme Monday post, but when I checked, Nicole's wasn't up yet, so I wasn't sure if we were DOING Meme Monday, so I thought maybe I'd do a Mondays on the Margins post, but I only had one half-prepared, and when I thought about it I thought it probably needed some quotes, which would necessitate me having all the books, which I don't, so I waffled. And then I did other stuff. And now here I am, after dinner, needing to get on the treadmill, wondering why I NEVER LEARN.

I've had the scraps of a memory of this poem rolling around my head for the past few days (not for any good reason - somewhat uncharacteristically, I am NOT presently ragey or hate-filled towards anyone or anything at the moment). It took a little more internet searching than usual: I did a dozen search strings comprised of some variation of HATE + SILENCE + UNDERWATER + CAT + CUR + SLAIN. I came up with lists of "Silence" poems, lists of "Hatred" poems, a site for "writing dark poems about death, horror and evil" (yes, obviously I'm going there right after I finish this post) a perplexing effort entitled "Silence, sssst" by "Nadim, Lost Soul", and then, magically, like tripping drunkenly over a rainbow and finding yourself barfing into a pot of gold (okay, not really anything like that), there it was.

SILENCES

E.J. Pratt
From:   E.J. Pratt: Complete Poems. ed. Sandra Djwa and R.G. Moyles. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1989.

There is no silence upon the earth or under the earth like the silence
    under the sea;
No cries announcing birth,
No sounds declaring death.
There is silence when the milt is laid on the spawn in the weeds and
    fungus of the rock—clefts;
And silence in the growth and struggle for life.
The bonitoes pounce upon the mackerel,
And are themselves caught by the barracudas,
The sharks kill the barracudas
And the great molluscs rend the sharks,
And all noiselessly —
Though swift be the action and final the conflict,
The drama is silent.

There is no fury upon the earth like the fury under the sea.
For growl and cough and snarl are the tokens of spendthrifts who
    know not the ultimate economy of rage.
Moreover, the pace of the blood is too fast.
But under the waves the blood is sluggard and has the same
    temperature as that of the sea.

There is something pre—reptilian about a silent kill.

Two men may end their hostilities just with their battle—cries,
'The devil take you,' says one.
'I'll see you in hell first,' says the other.
 And these introductory salutes followed by a hail of gutturals
    and sibilants are often the beginning of friendship, for who would
    not prefer to be lustily damned than to be half—heartedly blessed?
No one need fear oaths that are properly enunciated, for they
    belong to the inheritance of just men made perfect, and, for all we
    know, of such may be the Kingdom of Heaven.
But let silent hate be put away for it feeds upon the heart of the hater.

Today I watched two pairs of eyes. One pair was black and the
    other grey. And while the owners thereof, for the space of five
    seconds, walked past each other, the grey snapped at the black and
    the black fiddled the grey.
One looked to say — 'The cat,'
And the other— 'The cur.'
But no words were spoken;
Not so much as a hiss or a murmur came through the perfect enamel
    of the teeth; not so much as a gesture of enmity.
If the right upper lip curled over the canine, it went unnoticed.
The lashes veiled the eyes not for an instant in the passing.
And as between the two in respect to candour of intention or
    eternity of wish, there was no choice, for the stare was mutual and
    absolute.
A word would have dulled the exquisite edge of the feeling.
An oath would have flawed the crystallization of the hate.
For only such culture could grow in a climate of silence —
Away back before emergence of fur or feather, back to the unvocal
    sea and down deep where the darkness spills its wash on the
    threshold of light, where the lids never close upon the eyes, where
    the inhabitants slay in silence and are as silently slain.


March 1936 
I have issues with poetry - not disliking it, just having trouble reading it. If I could have someone read it aloud to me it would probably be better (although the one time a guy tried to do it in the romantic sense I couldn't stop giggling and he wasn't terribly eager to try it again). But this one, maybe because the metre is more drawn-out, or the images are so intense, really stuck in my mind (not enough to reproduce word for word, or reproduce the title, or the author, or... yeah, you see what "sticking in my mind" actually entails, I know, it's sad, let's move on). 
Do you have a favourite poem? (I'll wait here while you Google).
Okay, Meme Monday questions:
Is it spring where you are?
Sure. It thundered so loud and so long last night that I thought it was an earthquake, most of today was crazy windy but in a balmy, springlike, fragrant way, this afternoon some guy aerated my lawn in the pouring rain, and tomorrow it's going to snow!

What was the last book you read, and would you recommend it?
The last book I finished was called I Am the New God and I might recommend it to a very select audience. I got it from NetGalley for review and it was...odd. The last book I read without finishing was Louise Penny's The Beautiful Mystery, and it is beautiful - melodic and meditative and cadenced. I would recommend it to anyone. 
Reality TV - yes or no?

I think I outed myself as in the snobby contingent on this question in this post. In a word - no.
Who is your favourite cartoon character of all time?
Nicole says "that's easy" which makes me wonder what's wrong with me. Or maybe with her. :)
Um...... Anyone from Duckman?
Do you have a song stuck in your head right now? What is it?
I always have a song stuck in my head, usually for long, long periods of time. Often I become newly aware of it as if it's been playing in the room I'm in instead of in my head - it's like a brainworm more than an earworm. I was on a Billy Joel kick and for a while it was You May Be Right alternating with Christie Lee (I heard the man knew the Bird like a Bible/ yes the man could blow an educated axe). I went quite a while with Train's 50 Ways to Say Goodbye. None of it holds a candle to the tortuous three weeks I once battled with a bout of insomnia during which the sleepless nighttime hours were almost entirely colonized by Hoots the Owl's Put Down the Duckie. I try not even to let the title cross my mind....oh. Shit. But this morning when I woke up, later than I wanted to, again, I shit you not, the snooze button clicked off, and the radio came on just as some chick started singing "I sleep in late/another day/oh what a wonder/oh what a waste". So I slumped into the shower feeling wretched, thinking maybe I'd email Zarah for a pep talk after breakfast. Then I gave myself a pep talk in Zarah's voice, and it started with the assertion that even if I lose productive hours in the morning, I generally make them up at night, and ended with the conclusion that if my worst habit is sleeping in until I feel rested on mornings when I don't have to be anywhere, I'm probably not the horrible useless wretch that I sometimes feel like I am. 
Whew. Too heavy for a Meme Monday? Go back to Put Down the Duckie. You know, if you want to, you can put a dirty spin on it. "It's hard to play the saxophone with something in your hand?" Come ON. Tune in next week where I'll completely desecrate The Count's Counting Sheep Song. 

6 comments:

Steph Lovelady said...

I have been pondering this very question-- do I have a favorite poem-- because my public library has an annual favorite poem event. You sign up ahead of time to read your favorite poem and I often think that would be fun and I never do it because I can't pick one. Sometimes I think it's "The Raven," but then it just seems like the wrong poem in read in April and the event's always in April for National Poetry Month.

Lynn said...

I used to be quite the pretentious poetry wonk in university and when I started to think on the "favourite poem" question I felt myself getting snootier and snootier. So I will just point you towards the Dennis Lee poem "Lynn," which is a silly poem about a kid in preschool in love with his super cool teacher Lynn, which I have always liked for obvious reasons. I searched for it online but couldn't find it so let me know if you'd like me to type it out for you.

Collette Antaya said...

I'm more of a favorite limerick kind of girl then favorite poem.... but I did like the one you put in here very much.

Nicole said...

Once I had insomnia because I could not get the Backyardigans theme song out of my head. And then it morphed into a mash-up of Backyardigans songs. Your backyard friends...

Nicole said...

Oh, and I love The Lady of Shalott.

Although my favourite line ever in a poem is from Mary Oliver's Why I Wake Early: Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness. I love that line and I try to think of it every day.

Kim said...

I have a few favorite poems but the one I thought of is (a) not super common on the internet and (b) short enough to paste in here.

Purchase
By Naomi Long Madgett

I like the smell of new clothes,
The novel aroma of challenge.
This dress has no past
Linked with regretful memories
To taint it,
Only a future as hopeful
As my own.
I can say of an old garment
Laid away in a trunk:
“This lace I wore on that day when….”
But I prefer the new scent
Of a garment unworn,
Untainted like the new self
That I become
When I first wear it.

"This dress has no past" is one of my favorite sets of words ever. I just love it. I once used it as a blog title back when I wrote on Open Diary.