Dirty Gerty's Hurdy Gurdy


Only the poem knows what's true

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I wrote the following poem yesterday... more a poetic effusion, than poem. I've called it Sum, because it is, in many ways, the sum of me, and if you pursue the Latin root of the word Sum, it is a verb "To Be." Hence, Cogito Ergo Sum... (I think therefore I am)... now that I read it again, in its entirely unfinished form, I realize, the mood I'm setting isn't one of happiness or despair. It's more the "I am; to be" of a resilient soul, a rose, who will take the attacking rain, which is the quintessential embodiment of life, and death, and rather than let it dissipate, into the grass. It catches a drop, of this medal of air and the absent sun. What I must signify is the fact that the rose and the absent sun, in this poem, share the burden of being nailed, much like the rood. They die for life, that is. Because life and death are nothing if not landscapes that mimic each other, are endemic to each other, in everything but temptation. I've been in quite the fight as of late. Physically, with my Lupus... which not only has affected my kidneys (since 2005), but is now, more than likely, affecting my brain. I suppose I feel like the rose, because I'm constantly attacked, by a reality that wants nothing but suffering (for me). Like the rose, though, I take that little bit of without, a piece of the evil that pelts me, and keep it close. Within. To feel my fire, my fallen light, my flight into some apotheosis. And, if I can say anything here, it's this: we are always given burdens we cannot bear. It is only when we pursue the dream of bearing, not just bearing, but fighting them that despair becomes less and more prominent. It seems so many poets and artists are trying to reconcile an Eden with reality. But, my belief is that pain precedes Eden. It is only from sorrow, as Oscar said, "where there is sorrow there is holy ground," and Goethe implied, it is only from sorrow that our wellspring erupts. And we can dream on the clear water of a stream that seems to carry nothing, but really enhances everything we've ever lost. Maybe even (what we) never had. Basically, we pretend to invent a future from a past we'd rather prevent. And we manipulate this future into being a past. I, through all the pain I've been experiencing as of late, believe in something of the earth, endemic, primal... and this is to where I must go back. To distill the "eternal from the transitory," as Baudelaire thought one should, and feel an essence of something that may be a chimera, yes. But I keep the chimera's source (stronger,) when I enclose it in my petals. We are all primal, but it is always possible to take the wind, the rain, the sun and moon, and find in all its beauty and brutality, brutalities of our own making. Ones that we can enhance, an ugliness we can shape, into truth... that is... "eternity with limits"... transcendent measurements:

The rain escapes a modest cloud,
Trampling wildflowers, grass
With its medals of air, and gold
Extracted from the absent sun.
And one rose, it falls upon,
Assaulting the white petals
Until they turn a deep red
And the rose wishes it were dead,
This rose captures a drop,
Keeps it hidden in the fibers
Of its bleeding petals, for it knows.
The absent sun is better gone
When its lips and throat and tongue
Are parched, than when, already sunk
In this water, all the warmth is drunk,
And these medals of air, and gold
Are only nailing its tissued mold.
Every drop is another nail,
A wealth of medal from the white sky,
The modest cloud dissipates,
The rain has nailed its perfect rose
Into a perfect rood, gone into its roots,
Has mauled its bed, has given it
Not the comfort of being dead
But the task of knowing death
Is life, and both, assault and retreat
And are given back to the absent sun.
But this rose will not give back its drop,
It keeps it couched in its fibers,
Tastes the water dissipating, becoming part
Of it, part of the blood, the fight,
The falling flight, now fallen light,
For this rose will see, beyond day and night
Beyond the demarcations of root and air,
Rood and blood, its tissued mold against the sun:
And be, as it were, the echo, in a forest of mirrors,
Reflecting back and forth the reflection
Of a faceless crowd of a thousand suns,
Reflecting, in despair, the refraction of no one.