My Photo
Location: Midwest, United States

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Paean To Poetry

I love poetry. I really do. I love poetry the way Mopsy loved flowers.

I revere the poets who, wielding few words, punch me square in the gut. There are poems that I’ve read hundreds, if not thousands, of times. The words, the phrasing, the thoughts and emotions weave themselves into my neural network and…change me.

I turn to poetry for wisdom and solace. I return to my favorite poems to feel find myself again. To relive my life, at times.

This evening, I felt the need to return, once again, to this poem:

Where You Go When She Sleeps
By T. R. Hummer

What is it when a woman sleeps, her head bright
In your lap, in your hands, her breath easy now as though it had never been
Anything else, and you know she is dreaming, her eyelids
Jerk, but she is not troubled, it is a dream
That does not include you, but you are not troubled either,
It is too good to hold her while she sleeps, her hair falling
Richly on your hands, shining like metal, a color
That when you think of it you cannot name, as though it has just
Come into existence, dragging you into the world in the wake
Of its creation, out of whatever vacuum you were in before,
And you are like the boy you heard of once who fell
Into a silo full of oats, the silo emptying from below, oats
At the top swirling in a gold whirlpool, a bright eddy of grain, the boy,
You imagine, leaning over the edge to see it, the noon sun breaking
Into the center of the circle he watches, hot on his back, burning
And he forgets his father’s warning, stands on the edge, looks down,
The grain spinning, dizzy, and when he falls his arms go out, too thin
For wings, and he hears his father’s cry somewhere, but is gone
Already, down in the gold sea, spun deep in the heart of the silo,
And when they find him, his mouth, his throat, his lungs
Full of the gold that took him, he lies still, not seeing the world
Through his body but through the deep rush of the grain
Where he has gone and can never come back, though they drag him
Out, his father’s tears bright on both their faces, the farmhands
Standing by blank and amazed – you touch that unnamable
Color in her hair and you are gone into what is not fear or joy
But a whirling of sunlight and water and air full of shining dust
That takes you, a dream that is not of you but will let you
Into itself if you love enough, and will not, will never let you go.

* * *

I am that man. I am that boy. I’ve lived this poem.

* * *

(I hope to live it again)


Anonymous Grace said...

What a tremondous gift when we find something, whether written by others or written ourselves, that so deeply touches us that it becomes part of our collective experience. This was a beautiful piece and I hope you experience this again as you wish.

Sun Jun 10, 08:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't like the middle of the poem, the boy falling into the silo, smothering to death in the grain. It's too much like the things I see in my head when I worry about my children. It's a fascinating poem, but I really don't like it, any of it I guess. Sorry Jonas.

To me it says that love can smother you, overwhelm you, drown you. It's just not how I see love. I like this from Kahlil Gibran
" But let there be spaces in your togetherness,

And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another but make not a bond of love:

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls."

That's more of how I see love.

Sun Jun 10, 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger eleanor said...

Hi Jonas,

It's been a while, I'm sorry.

I just wanted to say sorry for the death of your cat.

Chairman Miao and Karl Marx, curled up on my lap, or slinking past with hungry insolence - they are such a comfort to me.

I offer you my most sincere empathy.

Take care of you...


Sun Jun 10, 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Thank you for stopping by, Grace.

* * *

Ah, Deb, proving correct, once again, that old adage: "one man's rapture is another woman's horrid nightmare" (just kidding).

This is what I love about art, music and poetry. We learn what resonates inside of us, what doesn't. The arts help us learn our own souls.

This poem, to me, is not about love. It is about rapture...ecstasy. In fact, I may post an entry about this. I've been thinking about it all day.

I'm all for loving the way K. Gibran describes. But I need to be enraptured first.

* * *

Oh, Eleanor! I always smile when you appear! Thank you for your kind thoughts.

Mon Jun 11, 03:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know if I've everr been enraptured by anything or anyone. I often think of myself as too dramatic and irrational but in fact I am, at my core, coldly rational and practical. I have my ups, my downs, my loves, my hates but when push comes to shove, I do what I need to do to survive and for my kids to survive.

Anyway, don't know where that came from. Maybe I don't trust ectasy.

Mon Jun 11, 05:29:00 PM  
Blogger Laurie said...

Jonas, I had never heard this poem before so I thank you for opening my eyes. I read it aloud. Twice. In my opinion, it is the surrender to that "love" that ultimate surrender.....that consumes us as well as engulfs us. The author of this poem, however, does not express that there is sadness within the boy--only from the father's perspective. The boy is not sad and that I find interesting. I've been thinking a lot about love and rapture lately and this is once again, very timely.
I have been thinking a lot about the three loves of my life and how different they were, yet so impactful.

Tue Jun 12, 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

I always find myself reading my favorite poems out loud, at some point. It may take me several tries to find the cadence and rhythms that feel "right." Some poems really sparkle and come to life that way.

I'm glad you found this poem and topic timely, Laurie. Let's hear it for serendipity!

Wed Jun 13, 01:55:00 AM  
Blogger anna said...

I believe you will experience it again because this is how you love, how you feel, how you live. It isn't the women who do this to you, it's you. You do it to yourself by allowing yourself to feel without inhibitions. And she will be so very fortunate.

Sun Jun 17, 07:09:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Thank you, Anna. You may be right but, still, there is a unique something in the beloved that elicits these emotions.

Sun Jun 17, 08:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi... i just stumbled upon this while searching for "where you go when she sleeps," wondering if it would make my cry as it did the first time i read it, many years ago, in the bedroom of someone that took me there at one point-- not quite that rapture that you mention, but at that time it was a possibility and a question of whether it could get there. (it didn't.) anyway, it's brilliant... and the poet-- his name is T.R. Hummer. Thanks for bringing me back to those butterflies.

Thu Aug 09, 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Thanks for dropping by Anon. Oops about the typo...(how embarrassing to misspell the poet's name).

Thu Aug 09, 07:25:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones