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Welcome back for the eleventh spring season of the One Page Poetry Circle at St. Agnes Branch Library where people gather to examine the works of established poets. You is the theme for February’s circle. The poet is always reaching out from himself to his audience, “you.” Abigail is reminded by this topic of a poem by John Keats, whose last word in the poem is “you.” Throughout his short career Keats faced his own mortality and reached his hand out to his love, Fanny Brawne. The poem shows both the need for connection to another person and almost a grizzly sense of self. Found among his papers after his death, and titled “This Living Hand” for its first three words, this is the poem in its entirety:

This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calm’d—see here it is—
I hold it towards you.

The idea of addressing a poem to one’s love, brought AnnaLee to the poet Donald Justice and his poem, “Poem.” In these seven stanzas the word “you” seems to address multiple faces: the creator, the receiver, the iterative process, the mystery, and ultimately the poem itself, which is trapped in the prison of its words.

This poem is not addressed to you.
You may come into it briefly,
But no one will find you here, no one.
You will have changed before the poem will.

Even while you sit there, unmovable,
You have begun to vanish. And it does not matter.
The poem will go on without you.
It has the spurious glamor of certain voids.

It is not sad, really, only empty.
Once perhaps it was sad, no one knows why.
It prefers to remember nothing.
Nostalgias were peeled from it long ago.

Your type of beauty has no place here.
Night is the sky over this poem.
It is too black for stars.
And do not look for any illumination.

You neither can nor should understand what it means.
Listen, it comes without guitar,
Neither in rags nor any purple fashion.
And there is nothing in it to comfort you.

Close your eyes, yawn. It will be over soon.
You will forget the poem, but not before
It has forgotten you. And it does not matter.
It has been most beautiful in its erasures.

O bleached mirrors! Oceans of the drowned!
Nor is one silence equal to another.
And it does not matter what you think.
This poem is not addressed to you. 

Who else might the Donald Justice be addressing in “Poem?” We invite you to blog with us here at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com. Comment on the topic of Poetry and You, the poems you read here, or on poetry in general.

Spring 2019 Season:
Tuesday, February 12, Poetry and You, February 12, 2019, 5:30 – 6:30 pm, St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Ave., NY, NY
Tuesday, March 5, Poetry and Food
Tuesday, April 2, Poetry and Mystery
Tuesday, May 7, Poetry and Longing

Abigail Burnham Bloom and AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.

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Find a poem! Show up! Read a poem! Discuss a poem!

Join us Tuesday, March 6, 5:30 – 6:30 pm at St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Ave. at 81st St. for the theme of Poetry and Enjambment

Sometimes we like to choose a theme that teaches us something about poetry. Recently we looked at poetry and punctuation, and since then we’ve noticed that we are paying more attention to how punctuation is used in poetry. And now for March we’ll explore enjambment, a technique where one poetic line moves to the next, without punctuation at the end of the line; it is the opposite of an end-stopped line. Enjambment creates tension as we are used to pausing at the end of poetic lines, and yet we must read on to the next line in order to complete the sentence or thought. Homer used enjambment as did John Milton in Paradise Lost, calling it “sense variously drawn out from one verse into another.” The start of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land uses enjambment in lines 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6, and end stops in lines 4 and 7:

April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.

In the ten enjambed lines of “Between Walls” by William Carlos Williams, the poet forces us to both speed up to complete the thoughts, and slow down to consider words at the end of lines:

The back wings
of the

hospital where
nothing

will grow lie
cinders

in which shine
the broken

pieces of a green
bottle

In rereading our blog post before hitting the “publish” button, I’m intrigued with the line endings of Eliot’s The Waste Land. Taken together, the last words make up a little rhythmical chant poem of their own:

Breeding, mixing, stirring, rain.
Covering, feeding, tubers.

Blog your thoughts on the poems you find here, or post an enjambed poem of your choice and say why you like it.

 

Please blog with us here at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com. If you know someone who might be interested in our program, please pass this on. And like us on Facebook!

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.