Runboard.com
You're welcome.
Community logo






runboard.com       Sign up (learn about it) | Sign in (lost password?)

 
Zakzzz5 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Which girl did I see?


Which girl did I see?

Long night on the perimeter of the building,
Then on the roof with the rifle barrel down in the rain,
Didn’t sleep a lot that night,
In the morning we are driving to the Compound
Down the back way past stucco-sided homes,
Always driving fast to avoid a bomb going off,
But now the driver slows
To give us all a view of the shower of blond hair.
In Saigon during the war, this is rare,
Is she French, or Vietnamese,
Though large blue eyes and creamy complexion,
And an open face and larger body,
The men in the army truck
All lean out to wave at her and watch her,
But no one says a word, sensing her foreignness.
In my memory, she is wearing the traditional ao dais,
The graceful pantsuit of silk cut down the sides,
And the graceful blouse, and in another moment
I see her dressed like a French farm girl
Of some kind, dressed in blue, a white dress,
A blue ribbon perhaps, and perhaps a blue blouse.
Jun/13/2013, 2:37 pm Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
Christine98 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Which girl did I see?


hi zak,

A well rendered scene. Few little nits:

"The men in the army truck/all lean out..."
"all" is redundant, I think: if the men lean out, one assumes that includes 'all' the men.
Also, don't think you need 'army' truck as the reader knows these guys are soldiers.

"And the graceful blouse, and in another moment
I see her dressed like a French farm girl
Of some kind, dressed in blue, a white dress,
A blue ribbon perhaps, and perhaps a blue blouse."

Suggest you leave out the second 'and' in the first line. Also, "Of some kind," in the third line should go as, "French farm girl" is a pretty specific description of the kind of girl she is.

When I first read "shower of blond hair," I thought the guys were getting a view of a blond in a shower. But that could just be me.

Anyway, yours to use or lose,

Chris

Jun/15/2013, 1:42 pm Link to this post Send Email to Christine98   Send PM to Christine98
 
Terreson Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Which girl did I see?


The poem is working for me. In some ways this is the kind of poetry hardest to pull off successfully. Without overt attention paid to metrics (musical stress and pause), and to practically all the prosodic rules, what separate out poetry from prose, including line rhythm, it seems to me the poem puts all of its strength, and chances, into breath. What I mean is that letting myself give over to your sense of line breath and the poem becomes a poem. That is a big thing, sense of breath cannot be learned.

Here's something Charles Olson brought me to:

~But the syllable is only the first child of the incest of verse (always, that Egyptian thing, it produces twins). The other child is the LINE. And together, these two, the syllable and the line, they make a poem, they make that thing, the - what shall we call it, the Boss of all, the "Single Intelligence." And the line comes (I swear it) from the breath...~

Sense of line breath is what strikes me here.

What else? Memory is, in deed, a potpouri, and not all that trustworthy, something the poem confesses to implicitly. But something stands out, something having nothing to do with, in this case, a soldier's immediate environment or the routines of war. "Sensing her foreignness" quite a good touch. I take the sense of the phrase to mean the object, the woman, is simply out of place, not belonging to a familiar context. For me that works big time. Poem's denouement also works, speaks to a kind of gift giving a vision can bring, can break through the perimeter bounding the observor's reality. Perimeter being a stricturing word the poem itself starts with. Nice touch that. So if I give over to the poem's internal logic, not bringing my own expectations on what it should be to bear on it, I'm profited.

Tere
Jun/16/2013, 4:01 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Bernie01 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Which girl did I see?


Z---


why does a vietnamese market seller remind you of France?

are there so many blonds in France?

seems to me this is a very normal young woman who decided to experiment with hair dye---what else?


In Saigon during the war, this is rare,

is this a revelation for the american reader?

this bit of description did not bring the scene alive:

Though large blue eyes and creamy complexion,

something else, would you also describe
a Saris if the poem was set in India or a Dasheki if Africa?

colors yes, much beyond that, no.

our friend Hemingway:

Brett was “damned good looking.” She wore a slipover jersey sweater and a tweed skirt, and her hair was brushed back like a boy's.

that ao dais, however, as a vietnamese word easy for an american to learn and fun (at least for me) to say...offers the opportunity to remark about your high school French...and about all that is slipping away from this GI narrator.

why, why, i cannot say, but amarillo by morning kept singing in my head---an american bronc rider with both his girlfriend and his wife lost somewhere, and his saddle sold in houston, he broke an arm...well, you get that picture.

tell you what i like.

the opening. the perimeter, the rifle pointed down in the rain. not much sleep that night.

there it is. Viet Nam. 50,000 dead. how many VN---two million?

i have three vietnamese god children with me now 25 years, their mother still my best friend---i returned in 1995 for a large tourist trip all over s viet nam---i've sent three young people there through college---it cost about what a new car would cost every month. but my old civic runs just fine.

here is a short on your poem---


Long night
on the building perimeter.
Rifle barrel down in the rain;
didn’t sleep a lot that night.

Driving to the Compound
the truck slows beside
a vegetable seller, her blond
hair a shower. Is she French,
or Vietnamese?



bernie

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3CWNLhW140



Last edited by Bernie01, Jun/17/2013, 2:56 am


---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
Jun/16/2013, 7:54 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Which girl did I see?


Bernie,

You may think you know more about Vietnam than I do, but I spent two years solid there. Also, I was there and saw the girl and you didn't, so there is n0 need for the snide comments. Why did I pick France? Not because all Frenchwomen are blonds as you accuse me of presuming but because France was "the" occupying power in Vietnam for a relatively long time. As in all wars, there were children of mixed parentage. But we were all mystified, as I am by your comments, and by your silly suggestion that it was hair color. The girl obviously did not have a Vietnamese physiognomy.

Sorry if I am coming on strong, but your initial comments really are over the top. Later I'll reply to your other comments.

Your compression of the poem does not help, and merely butchers it.

In spite of this, thanks for reading and commenting. And I hope we can continue our friendship. Zak

quote:

Bernie01 wrote:

Z---


why does a vietnamese market seller remind you of France?

are there so many blonds in France?

seems to me this is a very normal young woman who decided to experiment with hair dye---what else?


In Saigon during the war, this is rare,

is this a revelation for the american reader?

this bit of description did not bring the scene alive:

Though large blue eyes and creamy complexion,

something else, would you also describe
a Saris if the poem was set in India or a Dasheki if Africa?

colors yes, much beyond that, no.

our friend Hemingway:

Brett was “damned good looking.” She wore a slipover jersey sweater and a tweed skirt, and her hair was brushed back like a boy's.

that ao dais, however, as a vietnamese word easy for an american to learn and fun (at least for me) to say...offers the opportunity to remark about your high school French...and about all that is slipping away from this GI narrator.

why, why, i cannot say, but amarillo by morning kept singing in my head---an american bronc rider with both his girlfriend and his wife lost somewhere, and his saddle sold in houston, he broke an arm...well, you get that picture.

tell you what i like.

the opening. the perimeter, the rifle pointed down in the rain. not much sleep that night.

there it is. Viet Nam. 50,000 dead. how many VN---two million?

i have three vietnamese god children with me now 25 years, their mother still my best friend---i returned in 1995 for a large tourist trip all over s viet nam---i've sent three young people there through college---it cost about what a new car would cost every month. but my old civic runs just fine.

here is a short on your poem---


Long night
on the building perimeter.
Rifle barrel down in the rain;
didn’t sleep a lot that night.

Driving to the Compound
the truck slows beside
a vegetable seller, her blond
hair a shower. Is she French,
or Vietnamese?



bernie

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3CWNLhW140






Last edited by Zakzzz5, Jun/17/2013, 5:46 pm
Jun/17/2013, 4:51 pm Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
Bernie01 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Which girl did I see?


Zak----


if she looked so un-vietnamese, why question ---


Which girl did i see?


when were you there? circa 1970 i presume.
Dien Bien Phu ended the French military presence in 1954.

maybe the girl was 20 years old. i still ask, why did you think of France? because of the Indo-China War? the blue eyes and hair reminds me more of Texas or Berlin than the Provençal. more importantly, why was the incident filled with emotion for the narrator of this poem; an emotion that the poem never created for me, the reader.

legitimate questions; pointing out the cliche in the description is also legitimate; so also the narrator's contention that blonds are rare in viet nam.

all are legitimate questions.

why shouldn't we continue as poetry friends? i have posted crits in IBPC Forums here for five years or more, when did i ever reply with a negative comment about the crit writer, as opposed to the poem?

sooo, whose over the top?

bernie

 


 

Last edited by Bernie01, Jun/17/2013, 7:19 pm


---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
Jun/17/2013, 6:59 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Which girl did I see?


 Bernie,

First off, I don't really care if you don't like the poem. I sort of like it, though I'll admit it is probably not my best. If you think it sucks, that's fine. I'm just refuting some of your arguments below. I think it's okay to dislike a poem, but I want you to find better reasons. Depending on how far we go in our give and take, I may eventually share with you why I think you "really" dislike the poem. Have at it, buddy. Zak




if she looked so un-vietnamese, why question ---

[I didn’t say she looked “un-vietnamese” as you presume. It was you who asserted she was a Vietnamese market seller. The whole thing about the poem is the mystery, which you don’t get at all. You weren’t there, and you’re oblivious to the posture of the poem, so you insist on a black and white definition. You miss out on the mystery because your intellect is getting ahead of your heart. Because you’ve taken an aggressive stance against the poem, you’ve missed out on how out-of-place the girl was, and you’ve missed out on the reaction of the GI’s.]


Which girl did i see?


when were you there? circa 1970 i presume.
Dien Bien Phu ended the French military presence in 1954.

[Again, since you weren’t there, you don’t understand that the French presence, the influence, the genetic contribution, continued long after the French left. Not that I’m relying on this, but did you not see Apolcalypse Now, the scene where the French family have their dinner arguments?]

maybe the girl was 20 years old. i still ask, why did you think of France? because of the Indo-China War? the blue eyes and hair reminds me more of Texas or Berlin than the Provençal.

[Berlin? Texas? Ridiculous. You’re assuming again that there are no blonds in France.]

more importantly, why was the incident filled with emotion for the narrator of this poem; an emotion that the poem never created for me, the reader.

[If it didn’t create any emotion for you, how do you know that the incident was filled with emotion for the narrator? You’re being illogical here.]

legitimate questions; pointing out the cliche in the description is also legitimate

[It’s only a cliché because you reject the basic premise of the poem]

 ; so also the narrator's contention that blonds are rare in viet nam.

[You’re dead wrong. Blonds ARE rare in Vietnam. Especially in that back road away from the more affluent part of the city.]

all are legitimate questions.

[I’ve made my arguments above.]

why shouldn't we continue as poetry friends? i have posted crits in IBPC Forums here for five years or more, when did i ever reply with a negative comment about the crit writer, as opposed to the poem?

[We're not addressing your own responses, we're addressing how you do a critique. It's quite possible that we are not as careless in critiquing you as you are in critiquing us.]

why does a vietnamese market seller remind you of France?

[The reason you come across as offensive in this particular critique is that you begin with a personal “you” attack. You don’t address the narrator. You attack the poet. Pay attention to the use of “you” in your sentence.]

are there so many blonds in France?

[This comment has no place in the poem. You totally disregard the history of the Indo-China War and the legacy it left for arriving American troops. You also willfully disregarded the description of her clothes in the narrator’s imagination.]

seems to me this is a very normal young woman who decided to experiment with hair dye---what else?

[The “what else” comment is cavalier. Even the “seems to me” is cavalier. You are a very good poet yourself, and should be more sensitive, more aware of how you address your fellow poets. If you were more professional about it we wouldn’t be taking you to task for your approach.]


sooo, whose over the top?

[I'm sure we won't agree on that score. Read my comments. BTW, it’s “who’s” over the top.]


Last edited by Zakzzz5, Jun/19/2013, 7:50 am
Jun/18/2013, 5:16 am Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
Katlin Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Which girl did I see?


Hi Zak,

I really like the way the poems starts, the first two lines are specific and matter-of-fact, so right away I'm predisposed to trust the N. Line 6 re-emphasizes the danger of being in a war zone, and I like the fact that up to this point it could be any number of wars the N is remembering. The unusual sight of blond hair causes the driver to slow down and the N to shift to present tense, so intense is his remembering. Who is this blond haired woman, and why is she there? But she is there, and the men all look at her and wave. They don’t speak to her though, no cat calls, for example, “sensing her foreignness.” Something about that foreignness adds to the mystery of this woman, both then and now, as the title indicates. The last lines of the poem I read in two ways: 1) as an example of the vagaries of memory, and 2) as an indication that this scene, or one much like it, could have occurred at other times and in even other places. Probably did, maybe still is. One way to get at the heart of the emotion underlying this poem is to remember/imagine what is to be man, especially a young man, not in a war zone.

Thanks for posting, Zak. I enjoyed reading ths.
Jun/18/2013, 7:34 am Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Katlin Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Which girl did I see?


Hi all,

As a follow-up to this thread, I have done a post in Salon Chat:

http://bdelectablemnts.runboard.com/t2223
Jun/18/2013, 8:44 am Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
queenfisher Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Which girl did I see?


Dear Zak

a lovely piece! first - the title drew me in & you've managed to retain a sense of mystery till the last.

this is like an impressionist piece - a fleeting glance, a moment captured, that stays with the reader.

somehow reminds me of indian poets who called themselves - impressionists.

here's a small poem from one of my fav. indian poets - Arun Kolatkar:

The Butterfly

There is no story behind it.
It is split like a second.
It hinges around itself.

It has no future.
It is pinned down to no past.
It's a pun on the present.

Its a little yellow butterfly.
It has taken these wretched hills
under its wings.

Just a pinch of yellow,
it opens before it closes
and it closes before it o

where is it?


& here's another one:

A Low Temple

A low temple keeps its gods in the dark.
You lend a matchbox to the priest.
One by one the gods come to light.

Amused bronze. Smiling stone. Unsurprised.
For a moment the length of a matchstick
gesture after gesture revives and dies.
Stance after lost stance is found
and lost again.

Who was that, you ask.
The eight-arm goddess, the priest replies.
A sceptic match coughs.
You can count.
But she has eighteen, you protest.
All the same she is still an eight-arm goddess to the priest.

You come out in the sun and light a charminar.
Children play on the back of the twenty-foot tortoise.


what is the connection you might ask - & i really don't know but the piece did remind me of certain poets back home. & so i identified with: which girl did i see?
i think it's the moment that stays - which i found identifiable - like i could picture the dark low temple - lit up with match after match - a scene well captured & here i'm very tempted to quote another poem of his
sorry to flood my comments with so many poems but i think you might enjoy it - you see nothing much happens - no earth-shattering truths etc. - but there's a sense of something - an elusiveness not without a touch of irony:

The Bus

The tarpaulin flaps are buttoned down
on the windows of the state transport bus.
all the way up to jejuri.

a cold wind keeps whipping
and slapping a corner of tarpaulin at your elbow.

you look down to the roaring road.
you search for the signs of daybreak in what little light spills out of bus.

your own divided face in the pair of glasses
on an oldman`s nose
is all the countryside you get to see.

you seem to move continually forward.
toward a destination
just beyond the castemark beyond his eyebrows.

outside, the sun has risen quitely
it aims through an eyelet in the tarpaulin.
and shoots at the oldman`s glasses.

a sawed off sunbeam comes to rest gently against the driver`s right temple.
the bus seems to change direction.

at the end of bumpy ride with your own face on the either side
when you get off the bus.

you dont step inside the old man`s head.


I have no idea why i like this piece so much but i do!

coming back to your poem - I have my take on it - sometimes you like to adopt another's poem - 'cos you really like it - just some suggestions - take what you will or discard:


Which girl did I see?

On the roof with the rifle barrel down
in the rain,
long night on the perimeter of the building.
Didn’t sleep a lot.

Morning we drive the back way to the Compound
past stucco-sided homes, driving fast
to avoid bombs going off.

A sudden shower of blond hair up front!
the driver slows,
giveS us a good view, in Saigon during
the war, this is rare.

Is she French, Vietnamese?

Large blue eyes, creamy complexion,
an open face; a larger body.
All the men in the army truck lean out
to watch & wave.
Sensing her foreignness, no one says
a word.

In my memory, she wears the traditional
ao dais.
The graceful pantsuit of silk cut down the sides,
the graceful blouse.

In another moment I see her dressed
like a French farm girl
a white dress, a blue ribbon perhaps,

perhaps a blue blouse?

What i'm trying to attempt here - hurried jottings of a soldier's diary - on the move.
Jun/20/2013, 2:37 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 
queenfisher Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Which girl did I see?


i think i can see the common thread running between your poem & the indian ones:

the sincerity with which the moment is captured - the minute detailing of that moment - the sharp focus - with no frills - no fuss language - an impression that stays...

what i like about certain poets is that they speak the truth.
Jun/20/2013, 2:49 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 
Terreson Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Which girl did I see?


I have to say I'm finding a real treat in the exchanges generated by the poem. Before saying why, let me say this. The poem's premise, data on which it is built, works for me without hesitation. I guess maybe in a thousand years, in order to get the moment the poem turns on, some reader will need to know something about the historical data involving demographics and power politics, all of which here are the given, assumed referentials. But Zak himself said the moment is a slight poem. So I guess I don't understand some of the objections to means.

But here is the thing. I'm glad to see poet and critic entering into a dialogue about a poem. It was with this in mind the forum was built the way it is. Poet responsible for what he puts forward. Critic responsible for what he puts out. In brief, it seems to me, this is how we play at being grown ups on a poetry board: when there is the poet/critic dialogue, a dialogue conducted between equals who both are required to take ownership of what they say.

Here is the second thing. Queen, what a delightful way of telling a fellow poet how and where his poem speaks to you.

Tere

Jun/20/2013, 7:13 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Bernie01 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Which girl did I see?


QF---

i'm a big fan of the Arun Kolatkar poem you posted, The Bus.

so much so i tried a version---not a bus, but a mine elevator rising from the depths to the surface.

can you help me with a feature of the AK poem? i'm lost with this near ending line:


quote:

you seem to move continually forward.
toward a destination
just beyond the castemark beyond his eyebrows.

outside, the sun has risen quitely
it aims through an eyelet in the tarpaulin.
and shoots at the oldman`s glasses.

a sawed off sunbeam comes to rest gently against the driver`s right temple.
the bus seems to change direction.

at the end of bumpy ride with your own face on the either side
when you get off the bus.


you dont step inside the old man`s head.





what does the poet mean there, do you have any idea? there is no such mirrored event in my poem about the rising elevator carrying my narrator, but for my own satisfaction i'm seeking an answer...an interpretation.

bernie









Last edited by Bernie01, Jun/21/2013, 7:46 am


---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
Jun/20/2013, 11:14 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 
queenfisher Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Which girl did I see?


hi bernie

as you're familiar with koltakar's poetry - if you're looking for a serious interpretation i suggest you google - there's enough on the net.

just a sort of personal explanation:
jejuri is a temple town - basically in ruins - but a sacred place for hindus - kolatkar made a number of visits & has written a collection of 'Jejuri' poems - not religious - but as a keen observor - with an ironic twist.

state transport buses to these smaller places are in pretty bad shape - windows do not open / shut - so the tarpaulin in case of rain or whatever - nothing can be seen except what little you can see from the driver's screen.

N's fellow passenger is prob. a devout hindu (with the castemark on his forhead - which is nothing more than red powder / or sandalwood paste) with a pair of glasses in which N sees his divided face - as he mentions earlier:
'your own divided face in the pair of glasses
on an oldman`s nose'

so after the very long & bumpy ride - with your face / head shaking from side to side & watching your divided face in the pair of glasses of your fellow passenger - when you get out 'you don't step inside the old man's head' - which actually rightfully you should! but perhaps N has distanced himself from the old man - perhaps it's the relief to be out in the open after being imprisoned in the old man's glasses - maybe he was feeling clausterphobic sitting next to such a devout religious character & maybe N is simply trying to say: thank god i'm no longer inside his head - or another way of saying i'm not as devout as him.

but i've experienced this as well - esp when we're going to a religious place as tourists & the other passengers are hard-core devout followers of the faith - whatever faith. there's a huge difference between us - no disrespect but it's a relief when the journey is over!

if you best want to know the poet - this one personifies his faith - again from the jejuri series-
maruti (one of the many gods)

Heart of Ruin

The roof comes down on Maruti's head.
Nobody seems to mind.

Least of all Maruti himself
May be he likes a temple better this way.

A mongrel !@#$ has found a place
for herself and her puppies

in the heart of the ruin.
May be she likes a temple better this way.

The !@#$ looks at you guardedly
Past a doorway cluttered with broken tiles.

The pariah puppies tumble over her.
May be they like a temple better this way.

The black eared puppy has gone a little too far.
A tile clicks under its foot.

It's enough to strike terror in the heart
of a dung beetle

and send him running for cover
to the safety of the broken collection box

that never did get a chance to get out
from under the crushing weight of the roof beam.

No more a place of worship this place
is nothing less than the house of god.


check the clear almost brutal detailing - right to the dung beetle. kolatkar is criticised by certain people for being 'undevout' but he has a huge fan following among the youngsters - his poetry like other indian poets - dilip chitre / nessim eziekal etc is part of the college syllybus.

zak i'm sorry for hijacking your space this way - but your poem brought it all on!
Jun/21/2013, 3:43 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 
queenfisher Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Which girl did I see?


hi tere

poetry aside - speaking to a fellow poet is the most enjoyable thing! i wouldn't mind getting inside their heads!
Jun/21/2013, 3:53 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Which girl did I see?


queenfisher,

I'm not going to attempt to address every single observation you made. This isn't that kind of piece anyway. Your observations have caused me to give this poem a second look for its value. Your observations bring to the fore something I have, in fact, thought about. It has to do with perception. Maybe with "Being" itself. Weighty subjects that some better poets than myself take on head on. Several times in my life I've wondered if what has happened, how we can see it in two ways, is a result of memory, or whether there actually exists the possibility that it could be/can be two or more distinct outcomes "in reality." There's something about it developing in the last several decades in physics, as I'm sure you know. There's also talk about how physics is coming around to truths the Hindus knew about, wrote about, in their sacred books thousands of years ago. I'm just discoursing now on things I've read -- and things I've experienced or wondered about. Not making any concrete claims, just exploring. It's interesting anyway.

Loved the poems you posted. There is a similarity in the basic experience, now that you mention it. At least from my perspective. Really appreciate it that you took the time to read and comment on this. Zak

quote:

queenfisher wrote:

Dear Zak

a lovely piece! first - the title drew me in & you've managed to retain a sense of mystery till the last.

this is like an impressionist piece - a fleeting glance, a moment captured, that stays with the reader.

somehow reminds me of indian poets who called themselves - impressionists.

here's a small poem from one of my fav. indian poets - Arun Kolatkar:

The Butterfly

There is no story behind it.
It is split like a second.
It hinges around itself.

It has no future.
It is pinned down to no past.
It's a pun on the present.

Its a little yellow butterfly.
It has taken these wretched hills
under its wings.

Just a pinch of yellow,
it opens before it closes
and it closes before it o

where is it?


& here's another one:

A Low Temple

A low temple keeps its gods in the dark.
You lend a matchbox to the priest.
One by one the gods come to light.

Amused bronze. Smiling stone. Unsurprised.
For a moment the length of a matchstick
gesture after gesture revives and dies.
Stance after lost stance is found
and lost again.

Who was that, you ask.
The eight-arm goddess, the priest replies.
A sceptic match coughs.
You can count.
But she has eighteen, you protest.
All the same she is still an eight-arm goddess to the priest.

You come out in the sun and light a charminar.
Children play on the back of the twenty-foot tortoise.


what is the connection you might ask - & i really don't know but the piece did remind me of certain poets back home. & so i identified with: which girl did i see?
i think it's the moment that stays - which i found identifiable - like i could picture the dark low temple - lit up with match after match - a scene well captured & here i'm very tempted to quote another poem of his
sorry to flood my comments with so many poems but i think you might enjoy it - you see nothing much happens - no earth-shattering truths etc. - but there's a sense of something - an elusiveness not without a touch of irony:

The Bus

The tarpaulin flaps are buttoned down
on the windows of the state transport bus.
all the way up to jejuri.

a cold wind keeps whipping
and slapping a corner of tarpaulin at your elbow.

you look down to the roaring road.
you search for the signs of daybreak in what little light spills out of bus.

your own divided face in the pair of glasses
on an oldman`s nose
is all the countryside you get to see.

you seem to move continually forward.
toward a destination
just beyond the castemark beyond his eyebrows.

outside, the sun has risen quitely
it aims through an eyelet in the tarpaulin.
and shoots at the oldman`s glasses.

a sawed off sunbeam comes to rest gently against the driver`s right temple.
the bus seems to change direction.

at the end of bumpy ride with your own face on the either side
when you get off the bus.

you dont step inside the old man`s head.


I have no idea why i like this piece so much but i do!

coming back to your poem - I have my take on it - sometimes you like to adopt another's poem - 'cos you really like it - just some suggestions - take what you will or discard:


Which girl did I see?

On the roof with the rifle barrel down
in the rain,
long night on the perimeter of the building.
Didn’t sleep a lot.

Morning we drive the back way to the Compound
past stucco-sided homes, driving fast
to avoid bombs going off.

A sudden shower of blond hair up front!
the driver slows,
giveS us a good view, in Saigon during
the war, this is rare.

Is she French, Vietnamese?

Large blue eyes, creamy complexion,
an open face; a larger body.
All the men in the army truck lean out
to watch & wave.
Sensing her foreignness, no one says
a word.

In my memory, she wears the traditional
ao dais.
The graceful pantsuit of silk cut down the sides,
the graceful blouse.

In another moment I see her dressed
like a French farm girl
a white dress, a blue ribbon perhaps,

perhaps a blue blouse?

What i'm trying to attempt here - hurried jottings of a soldier's diary - on the move.



Jun/21/2013, 6:02 am Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Which girl did I see?


Katlin,

There probably is more to that moment than can be put into the poem. I suppose I got the core of it, though. Some of the other thoughts that went into the experience were: 1) What is she doing in this part of the city if she is Caucasian? 2) If she is Caucasian, why is she alone and on a slow moving bicycle? 3) If she is a Eurasian, is she in any danger of being kidnapped? 4) If she is a Eurasian, do the local Viet Cong know this, and will they therefore not kidnap her because of this? 4) If she is a Eurasian why is she dressed more in the French or European model rather than the Vietnamese, which would be more "local" in character and perhaps contribute more to her safety? 5) It's interesting to me that sometimes I see her dressed in the Vietnamese dress of the times. 6) You are right, the men all sensed her foreigness, perhaps that though she looked European (white), they sensed she might not be European culturally. 7) And more.

There are even more questions now in my mind. The experience itself was one of those things that stop you, though. There was so much about the cultural mix that was happening around us that we didn't fully understand.

Thanks for reading and commenting. It's appreciated. Zak

quote:

Katlin wrote:

Hi Zak,

I really like the way the poems starts, the first two lines are specific and matter-of-fact, so right away I'm predisposed to trust the N. Line 6 re-emphasizes the danger of being in a war zone, and I like the fact that up to this point it could be any number of wars the N is remembering. The unusual sight of blond hair causes the driver to slow down and the N to shift to present tense, so intense is his remembering. Who is this blond haired woman, and why is she there? But she is there, and the men all look at her and wave. They don’t speak to her though, no cat calls, for example, “sensing her foreignness.” Something about that foreignness adds to the mystery of this woman, both then and now, as the title indicates. The last lines of the poem I read in two ways: 1) as an example of the vagaries of memory, and 2) as an indication that this scene, or one much like it, could have occurred at other times and in even other places. Probably did, maybe still is. One way to get at the heart of the emotion underlying this poem is to remember/imagine what is to be man, especially a young man, not in a war zone.

Thanks for posting, Zak. I enjoyed reading ths.



Jun/21/2013, 6:16 am Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
Bernie01 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Which girl did I see?


QF---

makes perfect sense. many thanks.

a younger passenger observes an older man---the face of the older man is divided by his spectacles.

i wish we saw more poem quotes from other countries---i've written a dozen poems set and toned by India. i think it broadens us, just as we once said about travel itself.

          


here is another favorite that ends like this:

nessim eziekal


"...Still later,
we lay on a floor-matress in the kitchen of my wife's
family apartment and though it was past midnight she
kept saying let's do it darling let's do it darling
so we did it.

More than ten years passed before she told me that
she remembered being very disappointed. Is that all
there is to it? She had wondered. Back from London
eighteen months earlier, I was horribly out of practice.

During our first serious marriage quarrel she said Why did
you take my virginity from me? I would gladly have
returned it, but not one of the books I had read
instructed me how.


  

thanks again.

bernie
 

---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
Jun/21/2013, 8:02 am Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 
Katlin Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Which girl did I see?


Queenfisher,

I really like all the poems you posted, by authors unknown to me. Thanks for sharing them!
Jun/24/2013, 11:49 am Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
queenfisher Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Reply | Quote
Re: Which girl did I see?


dear zak

your remark about weighty subjects has been troubling me & got me thinking:

'Weighty subjects that some better poets than myself take on head on.'

i'm wondering whether one should write only if one has a weighty subject to write about - not that you're implying that with your remark but i'm just wondering what a weighty subject would be all about? & how much should a poem weigh?

hope you don't mind if i quote the same poet again - you might think i'm stuck on him! but i'm not - i could quote others but right now his poems seem more appropriate - & Mr. kolatkar is considered a weighty poet - much published & won many awards including int. ones:

The Doorstep

That's no doorstep.
its a pillar on the side.

Yes
thats what it is.
-----------------------

that's the whole of the poem & another one:

Manohar

The door was open.
Manohar thought
it was one more temple.

He looked inside.
Wondering
which god he was going to find.

He quickly turned away
when a wide eyed calf
looked back at him.

It isn't another temple,
he said,
it's just a cowshed.
------------------------
well that's the long & short of it!
katlin - glad you enjoyed! i love indian poets & writers!
Jul/4/2013, 3:03 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 


Add a reply





You are not logged in (login)