Wednesday, March 15, 2006

At the End of the Street Lies the Sky

At the end of the street lies the sky
dressed in the purple magician’s robe
of eventide and the winter storm.
Tonight she sculpts stairs of ice and
snow. She casts spells upon the laden
earth and the dying man can hear
her invitations in the blizzard, in
dreams that are like all other dreams
except soundly, deeply, more vividly.
He leaves while his wife is sleeping.
He leaves without any goodbyes.
There is no gentle kiss for her lips
no tussling of the boys’ hair or
kiss for the daughter with the moon-
shaped face. This is not intentional.
How could he know the destination
of this dream? He leaves his house,
walks down the silent street and
past the rows of barren trees
that shield the homes of dear
neighbors who helped round out
the days, grow the kids, and watch
year after year arrive and depart.
He does not think this odd tonight.
He considers this an adventure
walking past the shroud of snow
and onto the glistening stairs
that climb the breast of sky.


sb said...

I love this. I wondered about some of the line breaks; counted to see if you were working with syllabics, but no -- at least, I don't think so?

Michael Parker said...

Thank you SB. And you are right, I did not work with syllabics on this. Simple no form and no-brain-required variety. :)

sb said...

Ah, in that case, Michael, might you be open to suggestions about line breaks?

Michael Parker said...

Go for it, SB.

Also, let me know which syllabics you were reminded of in this. Thanks.

Michelle e o said...

This is beautiful! I love the ending image too.

Michael Parker said...

Sb, I have to honest and say that I have a self-depracating nature and that is why my first response. I do have a grand plan for meter and lines. Upon reading your last comments, I did reread and recognize some lines I can fix. So I am still interested in your remarks.

I asked about "syllabics" because I think you were meaning meter and not the study of symbols that represent cultural/tribal alphabets.
best wishes,

Michael Parker said...

Thanks Michelle.

Pris said...

Hi Michael
I've read this elsewhere and it's an outstanding poem, in my opinion.

sb said...

Hi Michael, yes I was meaning meter -- just the simple counting of syllables -- which for a moment I thought you might be doing. Which I do, on occassion, when I have difficulty finding other ways to break lines in a piece.

My comment is: I like the last word on a line to be strong. I think because my eye tends to rest there just a bit longer; when it moves to the next line, it's moving, and a weak word at the beginning is no problem.

Also, strong words at the end allow for some not explicit, and probably not consciously noticed, resonance -- like: dreams/vividly; sleeping/goodbyes.

So, when I came to lines that ended with "in"; "or"; "and"; each time I hesitated for a moment, wondering, why did the poet break the line here?

sb said...

AND, I just noticed than one of my own new poems has lines ending in "or" and "on".


Pris said...

I used to try and avoid that, too, but found that so many times a natural breaking point was what is considered a 'weak' word and began noticing it, also, in poets of note (so we're all in good company:-). Many times that weak word serves the function of leading the reader's eyes to the next line with no pause. Found this discussion interesting. Thanks.

Michael Parker said...

SB: Thanks for your thoughts and ideas. I agree with you. I too like endings to be strong, as well beginnings. More than that, however, and I attempted to achieve this with this poem -- I seek for lines that as a whole have a sense of completeness.

With this in mind, this is one reason why I ended one line with "in" and left the second line "dreams that are like all other dreams." Starting and ending with "dreams" seemed whole to me, in its circular-like pattern.

In the first instance that I ended a line with "or," I didn't want to end with "kiss" because this action had nothing to do with the "boys'" in the poem, just the daughter.

And I too employ the method that Pris mentions in her comment: "Many times that weak word serves the function of leading the reader's eyes to the next line with no pause." (Thank you Pris for your comments.)

I hope this explains some meaning to my intentions, SB. And thanks again for sharing your thoughts.