Thursday, February 16, 2006

comments on "The Baker/Bread & Fish", version three

This poem is reminding me of a poem I wrote years ago, "The Crane in Flight". "Crane" was my most revised poem. Back when I was living in my mother's house and there was no computer in the house I remember crossing things out & writing new words then recopying everything by hand when the draft started to become hard to read. I filled page after page after page. "Crane" was about something being said, a something that wasn't revealed, and the word was likened to a bird in air.

This time it's fish.

When I posted version two I asked myself if it mattered what was being said. Doesn't it?

In the gospel according to Mark Jesus fed the people, but the gospel doesn't say he said anything -- other than, "How many loaves you got? Well, guess we can make do."

The words of the eating man at the end, then, become the only quoted words. Doesn't this give them a great weight? I'm trying to decide how artificial he sounds. Is it just cute to make him ... dumb? humble? what if he thought the bread bad?

When I read something written in the second person I tend to read it as though the writer were speaking about me. Thus I judge, as I read, whether I really would be doing these things.

The baker is never described, not even gendered. The second person allows that.

Last night when I was working this one over it was really annoying me. It's not bugging me tonight. It's not set, I'm seeing places to fiddle. The mixed metaphor of water & grain has been unmixed, except "gathered up" doesn't sound all that much like water.

Version one caused me trouble because ... because it looked like I was trying to make a Robert Hass poem, maybe, Hass having been my teacher at about this time ... and I'm not Robert Hass ... The people gathering because people were gathering echoes a poem I copied out by William Matthews ... There were words in version one I just would not use unless I'm goofing ... "aromatic", for instance ... "the blessing of a harvest so generous" ... "the fragrance of bread still warm after the baking" ... I might like them in someone else's poem ... but in my own poem? No. Why? They sound affected? They seem to be saying something but aren't? Hm. "aromatic", "fragrance" ... how do you describe a smell? Bready smelling!

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