Breaking Out (Response to Allets' Winter to Spring Challenge)

 

While our faith

is locked in ice,

the crocus believes

in a blur of

awakenings and

dreams that don't

know how

to die.

 

Patricia Joan Jones 

Author's Notes/Comments: 

I feel warmer already! My acknowledgment to Allets for the prompt of a crocus as the harbinger of Spring. 

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Starward's picture

Although this poem is shorter

Although this poem is shorter than I am accustomed to reading from this great Poet, I want to apply my reading strategy to a short form of hers, to see how the poem works along with its larger/longer companions.

  Center of gravity is the first line; obvious, because in a poem of this limited length, that's always a good place to start.  The center of gravity is faith---the faith with which we gladly read Poets' work (specifically, this Poet; as well as her poetic peers like, say . . . what was the name of that insurance lawyer . . . oh yes, Pop Stevens)---the faith that Poets of this sort always (and I mean, always) have something significant to say.  The significance is never, ever, tied to the length or shortness of the poem.  

   She has given the capacity to believe to a crocus.  This is not unprecedented.  In the manuscript/transcript of the original drafts of The Waste Land, T.S. Eliot has a line that I have loved since I first read it in the summer of 1977:  "And in the evening, through lace curtains, the aspidestra grieves."  Eliot gave his aspidestra the capacity to grieve in a poem about sadness and loss; Patriciajj gives her crocus the capacity to believe.  She also gives the statement a double meaning each of which is equally valid:  the crocus believes in a blur of awakenings (that is, the blur is the object of the crocus' belief) or it can believe during a blur of awakeneings (this same grammatical ambiguity also exists for the dreams that don't know how to die.  Because, truly, the crocus (our stand-in, in this poem) can believe in (as object of belief) awakenings and dreams, and it can believe during awakenings and dreams.  All this she brilliantly turns on the very simple preposition, "in."  To use such a small, common, largely unnoticed word in a way that opens up two possible interpretations, similtaneously, is part of her brilliant verbal artistry.

    I take it that the final phrase, "that don't know how to die," applies to both the awakenings and the dreams, and implies---by extension---that the belief of the crocus is in an undying object, the combination of awakenings and dreams.  This then doubles back to our faith, which she locates at the poem's center of gravity so that, metaphorically speaking, the gravity brings the crocus's faith back to ours, which happens to be locked in ice, to show us that the ice is not the final word.  The final word is delivered by the crocus, but has been given to the crocus through its faith in the awakenings and dreams.  And, I will go out on a limb here, I would suggest that the awakenings and dreams serve as metonomies for the Divine, and for the revelation of the Divine in nature (a spring thaw, a summer's midnight sky) and in Scripture.  

    But having said all that, I want to say this.  Patriciajj has a sweeping vision that is intensely personal in its concentration, yet vastly cosmic in its reach.  She is like an astronomer, whose telescope gathers light crossing untold numbers of light years in distance, yet that light, in the focus, becomes the light of a single stellar object which the astronmer studies from many perspectives and angles.  These discoveries and observations are published, by the astronomer, in some scholarly journal; Patricia publishes her discoveries and observations at postpoems.  And we are highly BLESSED and PRIVILEGED (and I, for one, am always THRILLED) to see her next posting.  This particular poem was posted before I had become acquainted with her work, and therefore it provided a perfect example with which to bring my reading strategy on a poem that had been written before I learned how to read her poetry.  And Patricia's poetry---like Stevens', Eliot's, Mallarme's, Cavafy's. etc.---has to be learned to be fully appreciated.  They tell me that, sometime after 1927, an enthusiastic reader bragged to T. S Eliot at having finished a complete reading of Dante's Divine Comedy.  Eliot replied, somewhat dryly, "Then you have only begun to read Dante."  We have only begun to read Patriciajj's poetry.  Personally, I don't ever want to finish reading her poetry:  because it will always be generating meanings as my perspectives and circumstances change and recombine.


Enjoy effulgent days and exquisite nights.

Starward

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saiom's picture

  May early frosts leave the

 


May early frosts leave the croci alone

a sweet poem



 

 

patriciajj's picture

Thank you for stopping by,

Thank you for stopping by, dear poet. 

saiom's picture

a beautiful poem It makes me

a beautiful poem

It makes me think

 

How cruel the frost

to the croci, the

advance troops of spring



 

 

patriciajj's picture

Thank you for your gorgeous

Thank you for your gorgeous comment. 

word_man's picture

a resoruction of spring with

a awakening of spring with the zeal of summer


ron parrish

word_man's picture

resurrection ,,to much

resurrection ,,to much ale,lol  you`re welcome


ron parrish

patriciajj's picture

Thank you for your insight.

Thank you for your insight. Always a pleasure when you stop by. 

lyrycsyntyme's picture

To be able to say so much

To be able to say so much about existence in so few words is just another gift of yours. And to do so upon prompt only highlights that truth more so.

 

Many a spiritual thinker has pondered what creature or entity might best represent a human's most divine state. Little did any of them think to look at a small bulb in the ground for the answer. :)

patriciajj's picture

Thank you kindly for your

Thank you kindly for your very uplifting and eloquent comment. 

lyrycsyntyme's picture

You're welcome : )

You're welcome : )

Cascade's picture

Beautiful, powerful, brevity.

Beautiful, powerful, brevity. I love it!

patriciajj's picture

Thank you for stopping by and

Thank you for stopping by and leaving such beautiful soulprints. 

Starward's picture

This is very beautiful.

This is very beautiful.


Enjoy effulgent days and exquisite nights.

Starward

[*/+/^]

patriciajj's picture

Thank you for your kind

Thank you for your kind words. 

allets's picture

Thanks For This

Poem, also a harbinger of warmth. ~S~
 


 

 

allets's picture

Transutory

The black bird's eye

a crocus winks.

.

Lady A

.


 

 

patriciajj's picture

Thank you for the challenge

Thank you for the challenge and support..