Thursday, October 14, 2010

Had I Leant My Eyes Unduly?

This is, I think, only the second time that I've posted an original poem of mine on here. I don't normally like to do so, but in honor of my friends Devika and Wan Dee I will do it. This is a first draft, so I totally welcome the harshest criticism while I work toward a final version.

When I wrote this I somewhat used Edna St Vincent Millay's poem Renascence as a jumping off point. You will notice similarities in our beginnings, but not much more. If you click on her name below you can see her poem.


Two tall pines and a sugar maple
Upside down in the pond I see;
Two tall pines and a scarlet maple
With dark’ning sky below the three.

I skip a rock and watch them falter
Just above their dark’ning sky;
But slow their lines return, unaltered,
True and solid there they lie.

Such glory there! Such majesty!
Of leaden pine ‘round maple’s fire;
While underneath their trinity
The purpling sky seems God’s own pyre.

To see them nearer, ‘round I trot
And turn again to where they’d been;
But now a hill, a field, a sunset,
Fill the pond where trees had lain.

Had they been there? Had I seen truly?
Had they existed in that pond?
Or had I leant my eyes unduly
Toward false beauty in that pond?

Was it just a trick of sight
That made me love what wasn’t there?
Did my eye manipulate
The fading light to fit desire?

Back around to where I’d stood
I turn again to face the pond;
But see no more the brilliant wood
Upon that gloomy little pond.

For in their place are silhouettes
Of black above a black’ning sky.
I wonder how I could have let
Such drabness so beguile my eye.

So now, my God, when you I spy,
Is it really, truly, Thou?
Or trick of how I hold my eye
And cup my hand over my brow?


Devika said...

seeking reality in illusion....Our Gita talks mainly about that, Doug...The idea that the whole world is an illusion can sometimes be shattering, but when slowly we get to terms with it, anchoring the mind to God --- we understand the working of the mind and the wonders of nature...

I loved the way you did it, Doug...May be you could improve, as a matter of your satisfaction...but as it is the poem speaks well, :)


Devika said...

And, thank you for posting...honouring Wan Dee's and my request, Doug :)

I need to read Edna Millay's....and so many more. Time is such a constraint sometimes...But I will do :)


Rosa said...

Doug, I'm very impressed with this! I can never get my poetry to rhyme naturally, which is why I write in free-verse 99.9% of the time.

Doug P. Baker said...

Thanks, Rosa! Coming from you that means a lot!

And I think I may have forgotten to thank you for the book written by the cemetery wall. (I've been so distracted lately; I'm sorry!) I really love it! "Death makes us make minutes into things we never would make them otherwise." It really is a charming, witty, wise book! And very cleverly put together!

Have you had any poetry readings lately?

Anonymous said...

I love it, Doug. Probably more because I now have my own pond to gaze into.
Wish you were on Twitter so we could link and share your poems.
Blessings as you turn towards "Christ the King" Sunday.

Rosa said...

I'm glad that you like the book; you're most welcome! I performed 2 poems at Open Mic Night for school, but tomorrow I'll be in another reading. This is exciting because it is a sort of competition (no prize though) between St. Mary's and Winona State. I personally think we've had the better poems the past two times, but I'm a little biased. =)

Doug P. Baker said...

Thanks John! I'll ask my daughter Lilly to show me how to Twitter. Somehow that word always makes me think of the movie, Bambi, and the skunk that got twitterpated.

Rosa, will a video of the competition make it onto youtube? I love such things. I just learned that such open mic nights occasionally happen at a coffee shop here, so I'm looking forward to stopping in to find out when the next one is. Any big mission trips in your near future?

Regina said...

so natural and lyrical. thanks for sharing this :-)

seems to me...not an illusion but evidence that what is too beautiful is transient too.

Doug P. Baker said...

:) Thanks, Regina! Coming from you that means a lot! Obiterspeak has recently become one of my favorite blogs, thanks to John May mentioning it.

Regina said...

Thank you, Doug :-) John is very good and so are you. More often than not, "blogging" (i.e. the sharing and communication it allows) makes me recall what L.M.Montgomery's Anne Shirley is famous for declaring: Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think!

Doug P. Baker said...

"A bosom friend--an intimate friend, you know--a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul. I've dreamed of meeting her all my life."

Yes, kindred spirits are out here, but bosom friends, ah, those only come around once or twice in a life, and then only to the blessed.

I'm happy with anyone who uses Anne Shirley quotes to make a point!

Regina said...

hope you like quotes from broadway musicals too :-)

Cass said...

Hello, friend. I am Cass, mother of two. I found you by way of a search for a Herrick line; the full text and title to which, thanks for supplying. We've only just met, but you've caught my heart entirely. I'll be back.

I publish little online except my own, poor, occasional verse.
Bring your criticisms, please. Yours is a voice I'll listen to, for I can hear the meaning in it.