Thursday, December 26, 2019
A Poem For Daughters
Escaped to east San Diego County to hike part of the Pacific Crest Trail, only to become snowed in today inside an AirBnb outside Julian, California. Looks like left over Chinese food, oatmeal, and coffee will provide nutrition for this post-Jesus’-birthday day. No kitchen here, only a microwave in the bathroom.
I just now read this Adrienne Rich poem, from 1974, which begs for sharing. The internet offers, at least for now, my only possible means of movement. The cabin is entirely surrounded by white—cars immobile, trees weighted down, the ground quietly carpeted.
The forthcoming poem is part of a set of exchanges between my friend, David, the English-Literature-Genius who is educating me in the genre, and I.
Forty-years of psychoanalytic work have taught me about the poetry of dreams.
We all create poetry in our sleep or when lost in our imaginations.
In our dreams the poems emerge, following the same patterns of comedy and tragedy in all literature.
But I have thus far lacked the patience to read poems by poets or poetesses.
However, I will always remember two lines from T.S. Eiot’s, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock:
Like dream analysis, interpretations of even these two lines are endless.
Women moving through life, artistically, perhaps?
It has a melancholy feel, but maybe that’s a remnant of the rest of the poem.
My age, friendship, and curiosity call me to delve further into the poetic now, and thus here comes the promised poem.
Living in the earth-deposits of our history
Today a backhoe divulged out of a crumbling flank of earth
one bottle amber perfect a hundred-year-old
cure for fever or melancholy a tonic
for living on this earth in the winters of this climate
Today I was reading about Madam Curie:
she must have known she suffered from radiation sickness
her body bombarded for years by the element
she had purified
It seems she denied to the end
the source of the cataracts on her eyes
the cracked and suppurating skin of her finger-ends
till she could no longer hold a test-tube or a pencil
She died a famous woman denying
her wounds came from the same source as her power
Can you see the possible meanings of this dream-like poem?
It’s about women mostly, I think, and the power emanating from their unique wounds. And their power, more generally.
It’s about the wounds suffered by every one of us.
It mirrors those aphorisms of how every injury brings strength to us.
I now get out of the way and invite you to find your own meanings from it.
Beautiful, though, don’t ya think?
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