Monday, November 06, 2006

Poem of the Week 11/6/2006: Proust in the Waters

Proust in the Waters

Swimming along the bar of moon
the yellow scattered sleeping
arm of moon
on Balsam Lake

releasing the air
out of your mouth
the moon under your arm
tick of the brain
submerged. Tick
of the loon's heart
in the wet night thunder
below us
knowing its shore is the air

We love things which disappear
and are found
creatures who plummet
and become
an arrow.
To know the syllables
in a loon sentence
intricate
shift of preposition
that signals meridian
west south west.
The mother tongue
a bubble caught in my beak
releasing the air
of a language

Seeing no human in this moon storm
being naked in black water
you approach the corridor
such jewellery! Queen Anne's Lace!
and slide to fathoms.
The mouth swallows river morse
throws a sound
through the loom of liquid
against sky.


Where are you?

On the edge
of the moon bar


Michael Ondaatje 1984

This strange and dreamy poem is concerned with language, connection, fragmentation, time, and solitariness, I think. It traces the location of another person, finding her through a web of moonlit shards. We have an interesting unity between water, loon, moon, and human. My thinking is muddy, but this poem is not! It is clear and luminous, even. Sometimes these things plant themselves in your mind; you read them over and over, and the meaning only unfolds after time. These are the poems that you live, that you act out, that you must wait for. Poetry and life go together, remember?

Even writing that loosened my thoughts a bit; the end is a coming together. The only instance of actual, spoken dialog in the poem (the other words are merely "releasing the air," "a bubble caught in my beak," and "the river morse." It is as if the two people are learning to talk, or perhaps finding their words among lunacy (of love?). I think I picked this poem because of the moon, the fragmentation, and the beautiful language.

1 comment:

mark said...

Your critical analysis of this poem was I think just as cryptic as the poem itself. Way to be mysterious!