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Terreson Profile
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A Bedtime Story


I have a poem about ten years old. Laurie's Mythological Bop brings it back to mind. Of course it is open and subject to crit. But is is also offered in the spirit of poetic dialogue.


A Bedtime Story

"Makes you lonely and cold
standing on the shoulder.
But you've gone too far to go back home,
so your walking on a nowhere road."
           Waylon and Willy


One rider, wasted,
caught in thorn of thicket and
walking his exhausted horse;
who comes to clearing, who sees
white mansion. Bones of those
who came before spread across
perimeter of father ground,
who tested, feared the fall, and so fell.

And the door, the tower door,
with secret clasp that needs the key,
just one more name for right word,
for spoken touch to unlock the thing.
And door that opens, and his constant
horse led away, gentled, taken to rest.

With outrider here, I saw him straight,
shown inside the chambers, through
successive rooms, again the doors, again
the trials, again the litter of bones;
when finally the last door unlocks
and all it takes is true color of breath.

The inside room. How, sweet friend,
to picture the brilliance of that place?

Sun is yellow star they say. Moon white
moves the metric warmth they say again.
In center spin system molts and Milky Way births.
In fertile life there is death. In death, life.

And still the carnage of failure to step across,
to see and hear and clear the way,
as he does the thing, as he steps up since
it is the only worth and start of sunburst.

On hinge of stone and central to
this largest room stands the source.
The cup, the chalice, the golden bowl
whose last step, or so we hope, is close
when journey soldier must do his best,
take the chance, must sear his senses, and
look inside to focus find what's there.

All the greens imagined in that cauldron,
all the shades, moist to cool, all
the interlock of vine, skin bark, and
grove oak boughs spread to open;
or until the fall occurs, and he
is standing in the garden, the enclosure, in
patio surround, nimbus of wet light,
in songbird sound and cover uncovered.

One fountain. One sip of water. And her.



(Boy! I had forgotten all the lore crammed into the poem. Nearly thirty years worth. I do so love the so-called Matter of Arthur. Still speaks a vital truth to me.)

Tere

Last edited by Terreson, Jul/24/2010, 11:17 am
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mlle Profile
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Re: A Bedtime Story


hullo, i came to this neat salon through libramoon and wanted to leave a few thoughts on your very well-honed piece. you say it is 10 years old? it bears a kind of verbal sheen from thoughtful slow sandpapering revision, at least to my young eyes emoticon

i was moved by the compression of information in the first line "sees / white mansion" there's something about travel weariness, no time for small words, and a rapid movement achieved when one removes 'the' and 'a' (as i like to try to do in my work, too)

this poem often achieves a repetition that other poems trip over, i think it's great and also it subtly reads as a reminder that this is a hypnotizing bedtime story, as such fable/tales/stories might employ, we as audience are made children-readers-listeners in a very soothing way

moments of language from stanza five on read like a spell to me, and the conclusion feels like we've climbed inside the barely glimpsed cauldron of what's occurring and mentioned. i really enjoyed this poem.

best, mlle. / jojo
Jul/21/2010, 2:16 pm Link to this post Send Email to mlle   Send PM to mlle
 
mlle Profile
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Re: A Bedtime Story


hullo, i came to this neat salon through libramoon and wanted to leave a few thoughts on your very well-honed piece. you say it is 10 years old? it bears a kind of verbal sheen from thoughtful slow sandpapering revision, at least to my young eyes emoticon

i was moved by the compression of information in the first line "sees / white mansion" there's something about travel weariness, no time for small words, and a rapid movement achieved when one removes 'the' and 'a' (as i like to try to do in my work, too)

this poem often achieves a repetition that other poems trip over, i think it's great and also it subtly reads as a reminder that this is a hypnotizing bedtime story, as such fable/tales/stories might employ, we as audience are made children-readers-listeners in a very soothing way

moments of language from stanza five on read like a spell to me, and the conclusion feels like we've climbed inside the barely glimpsed cauldron of what's occurring and mentioned. i really enjoyed this poem.

best, mlle. / jojo
Jul/21/2010, 2:59 pm Link to this post Send Email to mlle   Send PM to mlle
 
pjouissance Profile
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Re: A Bedtime Story


Hi, Tere,

Very nice, very romantic. So it's Arthur? I don't know that legend very well, and thought of Sleeping Beauty. She's also a cup, chalice, cauldron. Is the chalice the Grail as well?

I thought long and hard about whether the last word should be "she". But I think "her" is right.

My favorite lines in this beautiful tale:

All the greens imagined in that cauldron,
all the shades, moist to cool, all
the interlock of vine, skin bark, and
grove oak boughs spread to open...


Thanks for posting this,

Auto
Jul/21/2010, 4:31 pm Link to this post Send Email to pjouissance   Send PM to pjouissance
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: A Bedtime Story


First off, jojo, a big welcome to the board. I hope the venue works for you, becomes a place that becomes yours too. And, yeah, you already get its intention: salon like. I must thank libramoon for leading a friend to the spot. If you have any questions involving navigations and such let me know. Christine98 and Katlin can help also.

Thanks for your comments. You actually bring into focus several devices I am barely aware of anymore, having used them for so long. Especially thanks for what you say about the repetitions employed. More than once I've been uncertain about their effectiveness here.

And, Auto, thank you too for commenting. I know you to be a clear sighted and honest reader. If something works for you I figure there is a good chance it works.

Yes, the poem involves what lit historians call the matter of Arthur, Welsh in origin, exported to the continent after the Norman invasion, mainly by one Chretian de Troyes. It is all pre-Christian, those tales, mostly involving the theme of annual regeneration and pretty much a bedrock of Western lit. Chalice, cauldron, the golden bowl, the holy grail, I figure they are all metaphors pointing to the same theme. In the tradition the quest for the holy grail involved all of Arthur's knights, all of whom but for one failed at various stages of the journey. I remember that, when making the poem, the question I posed myself was: what amounted to success, what caused annual renewal that did not necessarily happen every year? (The tradition itself is pretty non-specific about the outcome.) I did not know the answer until coming to the poem's last strophe. Then I remembered the old alchemists' notion of the hortus conclusus, also borrowed from the Welsh. The enclosed garden.

Dirty little secret. The poem was looking to demonstrate that Eliot was wrong in his reading of the Wasteland theme.

Tere

Last edited by Terreson, Jul/21/2010, 6:57 pm
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mlle Profile
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Re: A Bedtime Story


"Dirty little secret. The poem was looking to demonstrate that Eliot was wrong in his reading of the Wasteland theme."


oh wow! i must admit it brought about more Browning/dark tower to me on first read but this makes me want to dip into some Eliot and then back into yours before making any other remarks. what a great idea for a writing exercise, prove another poem wrong... and thank you for the welcome, i am choosing what of my work i should share soon.

very best, jojo

Jul/22/2010, 12:48 pm Link to this post Send Email to mlle   Send PM to mlle
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
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Re: A Bedtime Story


Terreson,

You must tell us how Eliot was wrong. Whatever that means, I'm sure it would inform us. The poem itself, the language, yes, is romantic: I'm reminded of Keats on the one hand, and Poe on the other. But of course, you have your own unique wording, syntax, and personality. I should say "a Terreson" is identifiable, like a painting. That's good. Zak
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Terreson Profile
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Re: A Bedtime Story


Zakman, one of the things I like the most about you is your penchant for the clear and straight comments and questions. It was a damn lucky day when my path crossed yours back at Lily's board. Friday night here. I watched a bee yard partner go down yesterday in the triple digit heat index we got going on. This morning he was still trying to get his strength back. I watched another bee yard partner go down today. He left work early. In both cases I was maybe a step and a half behind. The point is that I am not thinking real clearly right now.

Give me a good night's sleep and I'll get to your question. I've thought about the Eliot case for a couple of decades. And I am pretty sure I am more familiar than he ever was with the material and the lore upon which he drew for his Wasteland poem. It is one reason why I can say with some confidence he was wrong.

In the prose spectrum look for a thread whose subject will in some wise have your name in it. There I'll go for what you are after. I'll have more acuity tomorrow.

Tere
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Katlin Profile
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Re: A Bedtime Story


Tere,

This is a wonderful retelling of the myth, told as only you could tell it. I like it all, from start to finish. If I had to name my favorite part, it would be this:

"And the door, the tower door,
with secret clasp that needs the key,
just one more name for right word,
for spoken touch to unlock the thing."

I am looking forward to the discussion about your disagreement with Eliot.

Glad you posted this. Much enjoyed.
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Christine98 Profile
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Re: A Bedtime Story


Tere,

This is enchanting. Really just about perfect.

Chris
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Terreson Profile
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Re: A Bedtime Story


Thanks, Kat and Chris, for reading and commenting. I am glad you enjoyed the poem. I confess I am suprised by the poem's general reception. Maybe there is something to be said for tales that can romance.

Tere
Jul/24/2010, 11:17 am Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: A Bedtime Story


Last night I said I would go after Zak's question concerning Eliot's Wasteland poem today and post it on the Prose Spectrum forum. Today I've decided Discussion I is a more appropriate spot.

Tere
Jul/24/2010, 11:57 am Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 


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