Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Reflections December 22nd

Wow. Twenty-three poems all told. Not bad, and some of them are not half bad. All of them are spontaneous, however. Exercising my poetry like this has resulted in the ability to let the words flow from an empty mind.

Although I try to stay away from the political, I can’t always hold my thoughts back. I thought I’d try and evaluate the concepts of saints and angels in terms of the modern world. Liu Xiabo and Nelson Mandela are, due to the highly politicized careers they have, modern saints. If you know your hagiography, a saint must understand evil before they can be good. Mandela was in the part of the ANC advocating violence (and was arrested for it), while his partner Oliver Tambo urged for a peaceful resolution, and was exiled to the UK as a result. Similarly, Xiabo has been quoted as saying things less than flattering towards women and others. Saints they have become, but certainly not angels. On the other hand, Mother Theresa gave everything to help the poor and downtrodden in Calcutta slums, and although she seems slated for beatification, her compassion for people regardless of political stripe marks her as above saintly status. If ever there were an angel, she was it, and the reports of her disparaging comments during her darkest hours only underscores how great a being she was.

Was this ever a chore to write… This was my first attempt at following a poetic ‘form’ (an imperfect sestina, in case you’re wondering), and the demands of length quickly burgeoned out of control. However, the tales of folk heroes trying tragically to return home resonate strongly with anyone who lives far from their homeland. I think that was their original purpose. Imperfect poem, but interesting.
Like I said, taking down Mastercard is all well and good (and comparatively easy), but if you aspire to activism, start taking aim at countries on Amnesty International lists.

Riding on anything but a tour bus reduces you in so many ways, and reduces that society into easily understood terms as well. Whether in St. John’s, Quebec, Hawaii, or Shanghai, you can learn a lot by riding a crowded bus.
Teaching the wife French, growing irritated at out inability to communicate. I fear losing that ability as we grow older, so I guess there is a lot of that in there. As well as love, one that does away with the need for words.

On rereading this, it sounds like a Newfie song. Just a song of myself, simple and unadorned. Naïve. Maybe not poetry, but I like it.

Traveling through the US the past few decades, you can see great differences as they close up their borders and we become more like them. Both changes are scary and yet inevitable.

Mornings in this neighborhood are ripped apart with metallic clangs and machine sputterings. Some days I start work late, and any attempt to catch a few extra winks is doomed from the start. I wanted to find some beauty in all that audio ugliness, and this was what came out.

Hungover after an English teacher meeting, this was exactly how I felt. I am enjoying linking the present with classical mythology. As for Baudelaire, he wasn’t far off calling being drunk a temporary victory over death. That euphoria carries over to hungover Sundays, in my opinion.

I am consistently amazed how well Newfies are received wherever they go, and how I myself am so lucky meeting people. Add this to the memory of an old photo of the Newfie regiment I saw while teaching school in Canada a few years back, and this poem wrote itself.

I appreciate not being bludgeoned to death with Christmas music and false cheer. Some boys singing carols in Japanese and nose humming on the bus ride home brought this poem to life.

Last but not least, saw both these critters while walking around Kyoto with new old friend Alex Yang. I am forever grateful animals deign to live beside us, and hope we work harder to keep as many kinds of them around as we can.

1 comment: