January 13, 2017 by petrujviljoen
Image source skiesofarcadia.wikia.com
in the sunlit sky
an ordinary beauty
silently screams on
heaven rendered dubious
the moon, red, wrenched from orbit.
Linked to Dverse Poets
| Tags: #dversepoets, tanka
I’m sorry I’ve taken so long to respond, to comment on your poem, Petru. I’ve had to wait a bit, for which, however, I’m glad – poetry is better after a period of distillation. What has dripped through from the process are two images ‘in conversation’ which have then fused to give me a third.
I’m very suspicious of adverbs, especially in poetry, and here you have used ‘silently’. ‘Silently screams’. It is an oxymoron, for we cannot scream silently, so I feel a jarring sensation at that point. I know there is something ‘wrong’. Then, of course, since hearing is out of the question, I can only ‘see’ a scream without its sound. The adverb forces me to visualise the ‘silent scream’. Then ‘silently screams’, the rhythm, it’s 3/4 time. It’s a waltz. (I can’t help thinking of Poe – his ‘Masque of the Red Death’). It is chilling because of this juxtaposition, this contrast between terror beyond terror and gaiety. Sweet violence. Soft violence. Gay violence. This is the most brilliant use of an adverb I’ve ever encountered. Thank you!
And so, I have this image of a mouth open wide in a scream and I have the image of this red moon, which is a blood moon, with all that that signifies. And so my eyes go back and forth between the mouth open wide, with its glistening red tongue and the blood moon, and at this point they are in conversation with each other and I with them. And then they merge to become, for me, a bloody red mouth trying to take in the bloody red moon. It is impossible. I cannot swallow a moon, a bloody red moon. I’m choking. I must swallow my screams. (I’m also reminded of Francis Bacon’s screaming popes.) And because of you waltzing adverb, few will notice I’m ‘not singing, but screaming’. (Apologies to Plath). So this is my take on your poem. Sorry about its length.
Bless your poetic soul! You read it perfectly. Thank you very very much!
I’m always nervous, interpreting someone else’s poetry, because my queer tangential mind often baffles, not just others, but myself. But if I truly hit any nail on the head, with your poem, then it is down to your genius. Your poem is ‘of the times’ which, already nightmarish, have recently become even more so. But perhaps it is good, because it has forced a lot of folks off their backsides, including myself.
I’ll use adverbs sparingly in future though! 🙂 Thanks again. It’s the most stunning constructive criticism I ever received. I asked a poet friend, a local (SA) guy for an opinion as well and he came up with the gendered sun and moon as archetype – an aspect I haven’t considered and thanks to your reading of the poem, I’m glad I didn’t. Bless you.
The adverb can be a cop out for a more appropriate verb. Going through a piece of writing just sniffing out the adverbs I’ve used can be rewarding, because it gets me to look closely at what it is that’s trying to be voiced. It’s real ‘poetic mapping’, to use my own oxymoron! For example, ‘look closely’ above could mean scrutinise, examine, face up to … Each is a different possible ‘poetic walk’. I was encouraged by your ‘silently screaming’. It validated. I mean, I could respond in terms of musical rhythm (3/4 time) because I’ve been so urged to train my voice despite its ‘futility’ in that I’m too old to consider a career as a classical singer. That I knew 3/4 time as ‘waltz’ time, is because I learnt Ballroom and Latin American dancing and ice dance. All artistic disciplines ‘feed’ each other, enhance awareness and thus, consciousness. Oh, I’m really delivering a sermon here. Sorry! But it’s your poem’s fault. I am constantly in agonies at the crossroads that all the crossroads encountered in the making of a work of art. Those gendered suns and moons would provide a differnt poem. Which road to take in a work, is always an act of faith. And I’m not very good at jumping off cliffs. Last time I ended up with a broken shoulder. 🙂
And I’m still sermonising. I will stop the torture here. Bless you, too 🙂
You’re NOT sermonising! It’s so informative to listen/read another’s thoughts and insights they gained from their own experiences on the artistic journey. I agree that all art disciplines inform each other. Wonderful conversation, thank you very much!
Nice to ‘talk’ with you again. Hope it means your health is improving. 🙂
Yes, indeed it is. All I do is yoga and it relieves the pinch considerably. I’ve also learnt to take breaks from sitting in front of the computer, or do stretching exercises while I’m busy.
That is indeed EXCELLENT news. I’ve missed you. Though I have been busy printing (eco), protesting (I did the Women’s March in London the other Saturday) preparing the lottie for the 2017 growing season (PPP). I’m marching to Downing Street this Saturday.
I hear there’s a campaign to get the queen to not invite Trump to Windsor. That would be something I’d approve of for sure. How do you guys find your new prime minister?
Well, I’m not a Conservative. She wasn’t in favour of Brexit (nor me) but it has to go through. So new trade deals have to be found. I don’t envy her her job having to do’business’ with Trump but there are trillions of pounds in trade with the US at stake. We are in chaos here and it will only get worse. On the other hand Trump’s state visit has to be debated in Parliament because of the petition. He’s already insulted Prince Charles, Kate and by extension William. The Queen won’t want him to visit. But plans are afoot to impeach him so by July he may not be President. By July he may have provoked nuclear war and may not be able to visit. I’m scared and that’s a fact. I can hardly believe what’s happening and have been in tears today more than once and shaking my head in disbelief at what I am reading. Not fake news. Not alternative facts!
Much of the world is in shock that Trump got appointed at all. I don’t know how the American voting process works: apparently there’s the popular vote (which Hillary Clinton won) and then there’s the Electoral College, which on the face of it, is there to ensure a fair representation of states. That this College can be swayed (by whatever means) is also possible then?
The only reason I didn’t look forward to having Hillary Clinton in the White House was because of the philandering of her husband. To have the womaniser (much like Trump) back in the oval office is just sordid. If she divorced him (and if I was American) she’d have gotten my vote without any further questions asked. It’s perhaps not a good reason not to vote for a presidential candidate. That said, having to choose between her and Trump I’d of course rather have had her as the most powerful person in the world.
SA’s politics is so unmentionable I won’t go there. But there’s hope. Zuma will have to go at some point. Why it is taking so long I don’t know.
I’m also scared – not just of Trump, but the people who voted for him. It’s just not intelligent!
Hillary Clinton ‘downed’ herself with the email scandal. Here’s a link that explains it: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/mar/05/hillary-clinton-email-scandal-five-burning-questions.
I stayed up through the night to watch the US election results and couldn’t believe he won.
I’m scared of the folks who voted for Brexit – the simplistic thinking in some cases made my eyes pop. I don’t like referenda and didn’t want one because of that very reason – that it would boil down to scapegoating immigrants. Immigration is not the problem, it’s the lack of any system for integration. And this goes back to the 60s and 70s, not just since we joined the EU. Just my take on things.
There’s so much scandal and blatant corruption here at home as well. It boggles the mind that it all just carries on.
It is everywhere in every shape and form. I don’t know how corrupt people sleep at nights. It would be easy to become disillusioned if it weren’t for the fact that there must be a majority of good and positive forces or we would have already destroyed ourselves and the planet. That’s my logic and I hope I’m right!
I’m indeed afraid for the planet too! Global warming is a fact.
According to Trump, climate change is an invention of the Chinese.
Snorting in disgust and hopelessness. Hope the guy gets impeached very very soon. I hope so for SA’s president too but they’re taking their time about it.
But who will step into his place?
Almost anyone else will be less dangerous.
The moon has to give way to the brighter sun in such an event!
Wonderful sight, I wish to be in the company of such moon.
If this is the take on it maybe I didn’t write clearly enough. It’s supposed to be a metaphor for violence of epic proportion. The silent screaming was the clue.
This is an exquisite tanka. The juxtaposition of ordinary beauty and also silently screams. I’m impressed by how you mastered this form to capture the beauty of this phenomenon.
Thank you very much. It is, in fact, the very first tanka I ever wrote!
Love those last two lines 🙂
An amazing sight to behold ~ Thanks for joining us ~
The moon “wrenching from orbit” would make the heavens “dubious”.
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