Sunday, January 7, 2018

An Early Confession: Poetry, Art, and "Gigantic Day"

I think this is the confessional Varos had in mind

Dear Reader,

This is my second ever confession. I'm still trying to get the hang of this.

Perhaps this should be the Poetry and Art Confessional. I am not one for making New Year's Resolutions as they seem a recipe for failure (for me) but I do want to work on making changes in my life. The first one is to keep Poetry more at the center of my world. There are lots of ways to do this.

This week I spent a few hours writing poems with a good friend and neighbor. Once a month we do this armed with strong coffee and light snacks (an orange, some almonds). One of us always writes something amazing (I think it's usually her, she oftentimes thinks it's me). No matter what we write, we have fun and get to share poems together and check-in on the other's writing projects. At the end of our time together, we share drafts of poems and provide suggestions for revision.

Writing with Elizabeth often leads to my typing up the poems I've written with her and that leads to looking at what other poems I might have in the "not quite cooked" category.


Revelation of the Clockmaker, Remedios Varo
Here is a poem that Elizabeth brought this week to share. "Gigantic Day" by Michelle Boisseau captures that urban rush---when an ordinary day might seem epic --- especially if you are in a new environment. The location here  is (it seems) London but it could just as easily be Boston or Seattle. On the first read, I thought this was clearly a springtime poem but instead it may be any season at the New Covent Garden Flower Market. No matter.

What the poem captures is music and joy, "foxgloves juggling their freckled bells."

And as I head back to an overflowing work schedule this week, I want more than ever to keep poems of everyday celebration in my mind. The irony that this day is a "Gigantic Day" is perhaps what I love best.

Michelle Boisseau died of lung cancer last year and yet I am just being introduced to her with this poem. One resolution (I said I didn't make them!) is to live each day as if in its own way it is Gigantic. And of course it is for me -- how many days do any of us have left to celebrate?


Gigantic Day

We are bemoaning how the rising 
 deluxe condos will bully the river 

 when jittering toward us come irises 
 rocked in a beaming woman’s arms. 

 Then all along Millbank they come 
 hugging froths and sprays from the selloff, 

 blue dithers and nodding nasturtiums, 
 foxgloves jiggling their freckled bells, 

 from shopping bag and trolley dangle 
 panting fuchsias and apricot roses, 

 a Japanese maple whirls in a tango 
 through the taxis on Chelsea Bridge Road 

 and a warble of calla lilies opens up 
 to hit the high note that rumbles through us 

 as we all stream toward the tube stop, 
 past the humming double-decker bus 

 where every lap is plumped with bounty 
 and down we go following a crush 

 of petals onto the underground 
 platforms brimming for the rush.

                       Michelle Boisseau

4 comments:

  1. I don’t do resolutions either. I was glad to see the online poetry community working on sharing more poetry in 2018 though. I know my own poetry lagged in 2017. Keep going very inspiring.

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  2. Thanks so much, Veronica! I'm extremely happy to be rededicating myself to this blog (notice the new colors) and thrilled (honestly) that you are finding it inspiring. I appreciate you coming by and leaving a comment.

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  3. A poem full of blooms helps me through the frigid days. Thank you!

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  4. Hi Anne,

    Yes, you are so very welcome! Stay warm!

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