Wednesday, November 29, 2006

In a silent film, this sky would want stars.

(That's your early cinema trivia for the day: when you see a blue-tinted scene in a silent film, you know it's nighttime. Film technology couldn't accommodate night shooting until several decades in, not until panchromatic film was introduced, and so blue tint signified night.)

A lovely thing happened to me last night and today: I've only just now realized how lovely, seeing part of its printed-out results. When my excellent poet colleague (who is away this year) came to town a couple of weeks ago, I wrote her a tiny poem. Yesterday, she sent me a poem she'd written for me (a response to "The Night Deer," which you may recall from June). Last night, I sent her another tiny poem I'd written, this time for myself, about the same bird who was in the first poem I'd sent her. And this morning I returned from my first class to find several pages of notes and suggestions--of reading--all in response to my little pseudosonnet, which is (as her labor over it lets me know she knows) no little thing for me at all, not in a week like this, not in a semester like this, not in a life like this.

And so the seven pages I've now pulled from the printer are a new nest: a poem speaking to a poem speaking to a poet speaking to one who wants to believe herself a poet but who still looks over her shoulder in the tiniest way when the name is offered to her, when she gets grouped in, included. "Where did all that come from?" my excellent poet colleague asks at the end of her message. "Homage; company." Company? Really? And yet I know well enough that I only write seriously to work I take seriously. I flush with pleasure, and gratitude, and I realize how much I miss her, all at once.

And what's more, she wasn't the only person to engage with that same little poem; my young poet friend, off writing his own adventures, helped me wrestle some of the clunkinesses and placeholders out last night even before I sent the poem off to my colleague. I had sent him the poem almost apologetically: it is so small a thing, just a sketch, line 5 does nothing. He sent it back full of provocations and requests for more. It seems I'm not alone in thinking that maybe there's something here to stoke; these recognitions are the beacon lights of these waiting days.

"You're coming out as a poet, you know," said another poet friend earlier in the semester. "That's what this is all about."

He was right: that is what this is all about. Sometimes I misread. Sometimes I think a blue sky is just blue, when instead it's night and I've been called to constellate.

Have I told you yet how much I'm scheming for new eyes? And how much grander will be my mode, come January? We're nearly at the bottom of the year. Just you wait for the turnaround.


Blogger amanda said...

This gives me just a twinge of guilt, Dr. S, for although I've been reading and rereading the beautiful sheath of poems you sent me so long ago, I've never replied. I have so much to say about them (especially the Night Song one, which I really enjoy) and yet haven't used that part of my brain in the longest time. I'm glad you are coming out as a poem--please take some of my poet mojo because I'm not able to make use of it right now. I'll want it back some day, but for now it's nice to read.

12:07 AM, November 30, 2006  
Blogger Dr. S said...

No, don't feel guilt. You give us all those pictures of Clementine, and though I never thank you for that, it's no small thing. I'm glad you like the Night Song; it's one of my favorites, too, of that bunch.

I also love that your comment has me "coming out as a poem." Which is the ideal, is it not, for us all?

12:27 AM, November 30, 2006  
Blogger ttractor said...

I figured out one reason why your photos are so striking to me. Sky. You are granted so much more sky than I am and you frame it up so. And of course this photo is all that.

I await. And I hope you take the best of journeys to get *there*.

ftiqsldx--a dyslexic fiddlesticks

12:36 PM, November 30, 2006  
Blogger Dr. S said...

Well, this one, you know, is altered. I didn't fess up to that, but it's true. (But the blue/night sky in silent films was, too.)

But yes, it's true: I have open sky, which is one of the things I love here.

1:47 PM, November 30, 2006  

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