Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Work in Progress

Hi -- PortlyDyke here.

The post title pretty much describes the bulk of my writing (and describes me as a human being very aptly, as well).

I'll mostly be posting here with works in progress. I welcome your feedback, and am undaunted by honest critique. In fact, I welcome it, especially on this and any future posts that I may make which bear the label or mention it as a "Work in Progress".

I dabble in many forms as a writer -- some prose,much poetry, much more song-writing.

For my first piece, I struggled a bit about what to put up, but decided on the poem below. I write infrequently in meter, but it seems to come fairly naturally when I do (song-writer roots, I suppose). This piece was started back in early Winter 2007, and I've been fiddling about with it ever since.

I thought I would describe some of the wrasslin' matches I've had with this piece, for the benefit of any who are interested in that sort of thing -- for those who aren't, and just want to read the poem, just turn the page and skip the next paragraph.

The main problems I faced here were determining how rigidly to obey the meter, and how much I could stretch between the formality of the language in the beginning and a less formal, more personal tone in the last section. There were also myriad character identity issues that arose through the poem for me, which I'd happily discuss in comments. I truly welcome any and all feedback (hint: "This poem sucks", while technically counting as critique, may not actually help me improve my writing, and if my writing does not improve, it will probably lead to future suffering on your part as a reader).

I notice I'm a little nervous posting, but -- here we go! Wheeeeee!


Winter Descends

Summer rises, but Winter descends
The wind snaps its fingers and I remember,
give up the sweet stupor the Sun defends,
and turn my face to a brisk December.

She touches my cheeks like a long-lost lover
to see if the year has brought new furrows –
if crows have danced rough or only hovered
around my eyes where the laughter burrows.

Her fingers are chill and damp and scented
with hints of the corpses she did not slaughter–
the last breath of leaves that Summer rented
drowned softly in Autumn’s windy water.

I long ago left the urge to scry her,
to guess if her gaze will hold ice or mildness.
She comes, and it’s useless to deny her.
She goes, whether meek or wracked with wildness.

I let her go on with her questing touches
until my ears ache with her sharp inspections,
then give myself up to the kindling’s clutches
and protest the strength of her affections.

She departs, every time, while I am sleeping,
too rushed for goodbyes or a note at the last --
There’s only the sound of the rooftops weeping,
Or a sign traced in fog on the window glass.

Her surrogate, shy, comes in scents and teases.
It takes me some time to take stock of her,
But slowly I find that her promise pleases
And forget where my gloves and stockings were.

Some years, she returns then -- jealous, storming --
And chases the maiden off to the hills
A day, or a week, she chides me for warming
So quickly to someone else’s skills.

Not always. I think that the years she misses,
she’s off to the South with another lover
Absorbing the grateful, rain-drenched kisses
Of someone where parrots hawk and hover.

I brood on her rage, or her inattention.
The maid flits and flirts as I sit, unseeing --
Makes miracles, shifts every last dimension --
I just catch her smile as she is fleeing.

Winter descends, but Summer rises.
I ride these waves like a homebound sailor.
Forgetting the storms and the near capsizes,
I trade my wool for the Sun’s own tailor.

I leave my last thoughts of rants and raving
Next to my boots at the mud-porch entry,
Forget about thrift or work or saving
Or whether the windows will serve as sentry.

My new love is wanton -- sings, and dances
And draws me in tight to her careless heat,
Wants nothing of talk about old romances,
And tells me the taste of my sweat is sweet.

She pouts if I linger too long working.
She comes to my desk to toy with my hair,
To whisper she knows where berries are lurking
And nibbles my ear while her lips are there.

My head in her lap as sun and shade wrestle,
She chants a long saga of green and gold
Of flowers where bright, fat spiders nestle –
I wake. She is gone, and the ground is cold.

I trample the grass in jilted fury
And swear that I’ll never love again
That when she returns, I will not hurry
To ask what she’s seen, or where she’s been.

I’ll turn my back and I’ll square my shoulders.
I’ll squint my eyes in a cautious glance.
I’ll tell her I think that she’s looking older
Next time I see her -- if I get the chance.

As I work my rage on the wilting lawn
She taps my shoulder and hands me a pear.
The sky spreading open to make the dawn
illumines the face of a new one there.

Older and wiser, she does not try me
With promises, tantrums, or soft advice.
She surveys my ruin, and then says, drily:
“Try one of the apples. They’re rather nice.”

I know that she’ll leave, but we get on well.
She knows that I’m jaded, and doesn’t mind.
Well-mannered enough for a true farewell
She leaves a stocked larder for me to find.

Summer Rises, but Winter Descends
The wind snaps its fingers and I remember,
give up the sweet stupor the Sun defends,
and turn my face to a brisk December.

12/7/07 - 7/15/08

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