One of my students is teaching me about poetry. Some people are sort of automatically awed when they meet a pianist (or an author, LOL). Well, I’m one of those people who is automatically awed when someone writes poetry.
So, having just found a poem I loved by Margaret Atwood, I wanted to see if I could hear her read it.
I didn’t find the one I love, but stumbled across two others, plus an interview on her newest book, Payback. The book was released at the same time as the whole economic mess. I haven’t read it, but it’s about credit and debt in literature and history (and even the future!). Fascinating stuff.
And the first video is her reading her poem, “This Is A Photograph of Me,” the second her reading of “Morning in the Burned House.”
Here's the poem I was hoping Margaret Atwood had read. (Sorry, I can't get the italics off in my blockquotes!)
Tricks with Mirrors
It's no coincidence
this is a used
I enter with you
and become a mirror.
are the perfect lovers,
that's it, carry me up the stairs
by the edges, don't drop me,
that would be back luck,
throw me on the bed
reflecting side up,
fall into me,
it will be your own
mouth you hit, firm and glassy,
your own eyes you find you
are up against closed closed
There is more to a mirror
than you looking at
your full-length body
flawless but reversed,
there is more than this dead blue
oblong eye turned outwards to you.
Think about the frame.
The frame is carved, it is important,
it exists, it does not reflect you,
it does not recede and recede, it has limits
and reflections of its own.
There's a nail in the back
to hang it with; there are several nails,
think about the nails,
pay attention to the nail
marks in the wood,
they are important too.
Don't assume it is passive
or easy, this clarity
with which I give you yourself.
Consider what restraint it
takes: breath withheld, no anger
or joy disturbing the surface
of the ice.
You are suspended in me
beautiful and frozen, I
preserve you, in me you are safe.
It is not a trick either,
it is a craft:
mirrors are crafty.
I wanted to stop this,
this life flattened against the wall,
mute and devoid of colour,
built of pure light,
this life of vision only, split
and remote, a lucid impasse.
I confess: this is not a mirror,
it is a door
I am trapped behind.
I wanted you to see me here,
say the releasing word, whatever
that may be, open the wall.
Instead you stand in front of me
combing your hair.
You don't like these metaphors.
Perhaps I am not a mirror.
Perhaps I am a pool.
Think about pools.
-- Margaret Atwood
Here’s a cool site: Save the Words is where you can adopt a word that is dying from the language and promise to help use it back into activity. It's fun! The words say, "Pick me!" LOL!
Do you write poetry? Listen to it? Read it? What author has been inspiring you, lately?