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Bernie01 Profile
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Marine Venus


My Greek history teacher gave us the Ionic coast,
lectures bringing the Peloponnese vividly to life;
we could see ripples trailing the ship of Ulysses,
feel the wild confusion of Penelope and her son;
her feet white as a baby in the bath; hair drying
on the hot seacoast wind.

At her home, Professor West showed us
engravings, sheet music and exquisite calligraphy
gathered in Phoenician trading stations, a violet
handkerchief protruding from her dress sleeve,
small breasts formed into a parenthesis, a hint
of stutter under her perfect Greek diction;

She was the first, but not the last
older woman I would fall in love with.

Ithaca saturating the color of her sea-blue eyes.
The sun off Mykonos blinding an aged observer,
ears grown deaf from years of ocean waves.

An ouzo toast to close out our early night;
the room darkening over her collected treasures
of ancient Greece.

On a piano, unplayed all evening, a gold framed
photo of her aviator husband as he looked 20
years ago;

his plane fallen by his own will into the Aegean.


Last edited by Bernie01, Apr/27/2013, 12:07 pm


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Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
Apr/1/2013, 11:50 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 
vkp Profile
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Re: Marine Venus


I started this with a set of expectations based on the first lines and was totally turned around by the end. The poem became personal and carefully observant of a specific and well-drawn human being when I thought it was going to be an intellectual or literary exploration. I want to read it again but it struck me strongly, in a good way.

The second strophe is where the turn happens, and where the professor is first treated tenderly by the N and it is where I am the most moved.
vkp
Apr/2/2013, 2:53 pm Link to this post Send Email to vkp   Send PM to vkp Blog
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
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Re: Marine Venus


Bernie,

Overall, quite good. There is a parallel of sorts. This teacher has lost her husband permanently whereas Penelope lost her husband for a long time. The tragedies center around the same part of the world. There's a fixation on things. Zak

b]Bernie01 wrote:

My Greek history teacher gave us the Ionic coast,
her lectures lightly scented with the Peloponnese; ["lightly scented" doesn't work.]
we could see ripples trailing the ship of Ulysses,
feel the wild confusion of Penelope and her son;
her feet white as a baby in the bath; hair drying
on the hot seacoast wind. [The rest of it is very good.]

At her home, Professor West showed students
engravings, sheet music and exquisite calligraphy
gathered in Phoenician trading stations, a violent
handkerchief protruding from her dress sleeve,
small breasts formed into a parenthesis, a hint
of stutter under her perfect Greek diction; [Excellent profile.]

Ithaca saturating the color of her baited blue eyes. [Not sure what "baited" means here.]
The sun off Mykonos blinding an aged observer,
ears grown deaf from years of sea wave cascade.

A sip of ouzo in toast to close out our early night.
Her home darkening around the aged beauties
of ancient Greece wrestled from the curled entrails
of an ancient deep water mollusk.

On a piano unplayed all evening, in a gold frame
I spied a dull photograph of her aviator husband
his plane fallen twenty years ago into the Aegean. [This final note of the husband; it might be a clue to her attachment to the Aegean. If she is Greek to begin with, this might not be as strong a factor.]
 

Apr/4/2013, 11:21 am Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
Bernie01 Profile
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Re: Marine Venus


VKP---

so happy that the poem in part touched you. me too....LOL


Z---

i've added two comments to the poem---

1. the husband didn't just die in a plane crash---he commited suicide.

2. and the narrator, now admits to being half-in love with Professor West. the first older lady, but not the last.

professor West is a greek history prof---natural for her to collect related artifacts, to enjoy lecturing on her favortes subject.

if there is a fixation here, it is the budding, maybe lifelong, fascination the narrator will find with intellectual women, touched perhaps with tragedy, but definitely insular and self-contained.

better, by far, than Humbert Humbert's fascination with Lolita in that modern classic, Lolita.

Or Darlee's fascination with Justine in the four books of the Alexandria Quartet.

anna karenina's fascination with count veronsky who destroys her marriage and contributes to her suicide.

no older women you found fascinating from time to time in your checkered past? LOL


bernie



Last edited by Bernie01, Apr/6/2013, 2:41 pm


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Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
Apr/6/2013, 2:27 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 
queenfisher Profile
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Re: Marine Venus


bernie - a most sumptuous read! makes me feel hungry for exotic mediterranean food with oodles of olive oil et all! & i have to go back to my mean lean chappattis!

enjoyed!
Apr/10/2013, 1:55 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Marine Venus


A satisfying narrative poem. Attention to detail puts me there, in that woman's home. I wonder about the diffidence in the narrator's tone. I mean, why half-in-love? especially, since, she has the gift to transport her student to the ancient world wonderfully. The 20 year parallel not lost on me.

Tere
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Bernie01 Profile
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Re: Marine Venus


T---

yes, detail.

how much feeling can be squeezed from the numbers, the listed items, the observed objective facts?

i think about it with every poem i write. sometime the numbers add, sometime far less so.

here, professor West is still in love with her now dead husband and when she ventures out, intellectually, emotionally, it is into her Greek antiquities; i believe our narrator understands that he can only admire, even love, from some middle distance.

unrequited love, the stuff of songs and poems, but not for this narrator---he cannot deny a stirring in his own breast. perhaps his fate is to always feel such heat, but never the burn, the incendiary of love.


thanks for taking this tourist bus along the Peloponnese.


bernie





---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
Apr/22/2013, 11:56 am Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Marine Venus


Hi Bernie,

Overall, the poem works well. Narrative is clear and plays off the Penelope allusion, which is not overdone, in a way that enhances the both stories.

A few thoughts for you to consider:

My Greek history teacher gave us the Ionic coast,
lectures bringing the Peloponnese vividly to life;
we could see ripples trailing the ship of Ulysses,
feel the wild confusion of Penelope and her son;
her feet white as a baby in the bath; hair drying
on the hot seacoast wind.

At her home, Professor West showed students {us instead of students}
engravings, sheet music and exquisite calligraphy
gathered in Phoenician trading stations, a violent {Why violent? Doesn't work for me.}
handkerchief protruding from her dress sleeve,
small breasts formed into a parenthesis, a hint
of stutter under her perfect Greek diction;

She was the first, but not the last
older woman I would half fall in love with. {I agree with Tere here: cut half, which feels tepid somehow.}

Ithaca saturating the color of her sea-blue eyes.
The sun off Mykonos blinding an aged observer,
ears grown deaf from years of ocean waves.

An ouzo toast to close out our early night;
the room darkening over her collected treasures
of ancient Greece.

On a piano, unplayed all evening, a gold framed
photo of her aviator husband as he looked 20
years ago;

his plane fallen by his own will into the Aegean. {I wondered how the students would know this for a fact. Maybe: it was rumored he had taken his own life? That would add to the mystery for the students and the readers.}

I find the poem atmospheric in a positive sense and enjoyed reading it. Thanks for posting this one, Bernie.

Last edited by Katlin, Apr/27/2013, 11:58 am
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Bernie01 Profile
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Re: Marine Venus


K---

made three of your suggested changes and thanks for pointing out that spelling error---violent/violet.

half in love? oh, isn't that how most folks love? half our marriges end in divorce, how deep could the love be---maybe strong for 15 minutes, but i've revised out that "half" word.

how do the students know about the suicide? newspapers, rumors? dunno.

sexton, plath, but those suicides from another era. still, an aviator plunging into the ocean would be a top story in any era---adding the word suicide something that might be implied, but rarely designated.


thanks for reading and for your comments.

changes now posted.


bernie



Last edited by Bernie01, Apr/27/2013, 1:23 pm


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Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
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Katlin Profile
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Re: Marine Venus


Hi again, Bernie,

Okay, you've convinced me: half in love it is. emoticon
Apr/27/2013, 12:34 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Bernie01 Profile
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Re: Marine Venus


K---

yes, i wasn't thinking statistics, but more like Profrock's lament...his nagging discovery of his half life.

Keats:

for many a time
  I have been half in love with easeful Death,



thanks so much for the essay about Henry James; stunning and very insightful. the focus is on the late henry james, after his last great novel and his travels through America before returning to England---and his final days.

just great insight and the link to Donald Justice is not one i've seen before, although James afficianado's mention it often in our club meetings...LOL..


thanks again.


bernie


Donald Justice

Henry James by the Pacific

In a hotel room by the sea, the Master
Sits brooding on the continent he has crossed.
Not that he foresees immediate disaster,
Only a sort of freshness being lost—
Or should he go on calling it Innocence?
The sad-faced monsters of the plains are gone;
Wall Street controls the wilderness. There's an immense
Novel in all this waiting to be done,
But not, not—sadly enough—by him. His talents,
Such as they may be, want an older theme,
One rather more civilized than this, on balance.
For him now always the consoling dream
Is just the mild dear light of Lamb House falling
Beautifully down the pages of his calling.



Leon Edel is the master biographer of James:



IT has long been known that during his last illness, in the midst of the 19l4-19l8 war, and when he was in delirium, Henry James called his secretary, the late Theodora Bosanquet, and dictated certain passages that dealt with the Napoleonic legend. The text of the dictation has never been published, although Miss Bosanquet once read an excerpt during a BBC broadcast devoted to the novelist; and in 1927 it was mentioned briefly in Pelham Edgar's Henry James: Man and Author as a "Napoleonic Fragment."



 



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Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
Apr/27/2013, 8:15 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 


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