Monday, July 03, 2006

A couple of links, and a poem

I'm not usually big on poetry contests, however I ran across one that looks like possibly not the usual kind of thing. Art at Work, a Canada-based website, is holding a poetry challenge/contest on the theme Being at Work: poems "by people about the work they personally do or have done, paid or unpaid, blue- or white- or no-collar." Also poems about "looking for work, how our hours at work affect the rest of our lives and the process of retiring from work."

According to the website, there is * no * required entry fee (though they are accepting donations for the Movement for Canadian Literacy, a non-profit organization). Of the five contest judges, who are named in the website, two are Canadian labor union officials and one (poet Susan Eisenberg) is a licensed master electrician. Another of the judges, poet Tom Wayman, edited many years ago an anthology of poems about work, which I read back then and liked quite a bit.

I'm not necessarily endorsing the contest, but thought it interesting and wanted to pass along word of it. Thanks to Ivy for posting a link in Dumbfoundry about the contest, where I originally found out about it.


Cafe Cafe member Michelle Buchanan has started a new blog, Operation Poem, seeking poems of remembrance and compassion for military service people who have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Go to the link above to read the many powerful and moving poems that have been published in the blog so far, and for guidelines for submitting poems.

I was initially moved to write the poem below after going to the Operation Poem blog a few nights ago. Michelle was kind and generous in her comments about the poem when I sent it to her, though after discussing it a little we agreed it might not be best suited for the kind of thing she's looking to do in the Operation Poem blog.

So, posting the poem here. -- Thanks.


graves registration

like a wind of wolves, like a lover,
i have come answering your call.
on the high galleon of empire, chasing
gray phantoms, we sail out of new bedford.
behold, i am the heart of iron. hear me,
i am the voice that shatters dreams.
a house of fresh paint, a rosebush,
a small clock on the wall, a high school
yearbook photograph. the toys
of the dead, the salt of fossils.
eyes that once could see into the heart
grow distant and clouded with milk.
the monster of meat and grease slugged up
on the deck, opened to the air by long knives:
deliverance of the bearers of light: blood for oil.
the sea is a drunken chaplain tottering toward nightfall.
tripoli, barbary, the far bermudas,
tilting toward waves and ice, we move with a purpose.
thunder offshore, racket of gunfire, thump of drums.
you who knew us, remember our works
and the fires that burn here.
for a monument leave a fallen wall.
you will have salt on the table, and
the lure of the tropics, low deductibles,
and in general a promising growth rate for investments.


burning moon said...

Hi Lyle, I love the voice in this. It has something of the portentous rolling thunder of Milton.

I hope you don't mind my mentioning, but I had one small suggestion, as I read, I misread:
'the monster of meat and grease slugged up
on the deck,'


'the monster of meat and grease sludged up
on the deck,'

but kind of preferred 'sludged' to 'slugged.' It seemed to work better for me both in meaning and sound.
Of course that's just my opinion, but I thought I mention it in case you liked the idea.


arewestillmarried said...

gorgeousful and memorable

Lyle Daggett said...

Thanks each of you for your comments.

Burning Moon, interesting about the "accident" of misreading. After thinking about it, I still prefer "slugged," as it is now -- I like the sound and the crudely violent sense of the word, which was what I was seeking. But appreciate your comment.

Michael Parker said...

Lyle, this is excellent!

Lyle Daggett said...

Thank you, Michael.

Pris said...

Oh yes...very well done, Lyle!

Lyle Daggett said...

Thanks, Pris.