Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Frost: Woodland Scene

"The Road Not Taken," is another favorite poem about woodlands and paths by the master poet Robert Frost (published 1916).

Frost known best for his effortless grand poem "Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening," manifests in this poem another teaching insight about life.

In the first lines of the first paragraph:

"Two roads diverge in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both..." shows roads that branch out or move apart in a beautiful wood. The traveler is watching how far it can go to where it bends in the undergrowth

The color "yellow" is a bright color, perhaps showing the sun rays, but fading in the winding path of travel, as far as the eyes can see from a distance.

The traveler takes one road, just as fair as the other.
Perhaps as he finds it comfortable and likeable, as perhaps the better claim.

The leaves, as trampled by steps has dried and has been trodden black connote damage/bleakness and/ or firmness.

"Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back."

During the walk, the traveller also thinks of going back, and what might be in the other road, and still doubts, yet in anyway, moves on.

And he chooses: Telling it with a sigh, and how agonizing and hard it could be, back then. A sigh symbolizes hardship and pain. And oftentimes, suspiration is giving out energy to take another big chance of breath (the opposite of expiration, which means coming to an end).

Yet in his choice, as the traveller crossed the uneasy paths (less traveled), as steadfast as not returning; facing life bravely makes all the difference. Generally, the choice of roads symbolizes one of life's most important decisions.

The rhymes sound so sad, as in the sound of "o" and "d". And the atmosphere as the woodland scene, far from the city, is the real path of life and journey of ages (birth to old age). Also, that peace in the woodland is a soul alone longing for light coming from above, the yellow wood, the yellow sun, guides a way in whatever choice be made.

The road not taken is not meant to be, but the road of one's choice proves a responsibility of living it to the fullness.
Moreover, the poet could give as much meaning as he claims, as the ambiguity (poet's conceit). Some say it was a gentle jab for a friend or could be a personal irony for a letter.

All in all, thank you Sir Robert Frost!

Monday, February 21, 2011

More Poetry

Words are fun to study! Those, which they signify are pictures of all sorts and a hurricane of imaginations, as Archibald Macleish's maple leaf and globed fruit represent.

In the following poem lines below, we'd practice word descriptions in a free style like replying or giving comments to poems.

1.William Carlos Williams (The Descent)

"For what we can-not accomplish,
What is denied to love
What we have lost in the anticipation -
A descent follows, endless and indestructible."

My Reply:

To: Sir William C. Williams

Descent is the moon that wanes beneath darkness
Clouds, gray nights of cold
Like a love unrequited
Like tales untold

Like throes hiding under shadows
Like dreams unrealized burrow
Etched is truth, there lies abyss
Lonely lilacs surrender peace.

2. Richard Eberhart (Grave Piece)

"And from this I saw grow
Although my sense shook with fear
A crystal Tear
Whose center is spiritual love."

Mr. Eberhart explains:

"From all the experience contemplating death I saw grow, although the enormity shook my sense with fear, a crystal tear, the tear of spiritual love, which is the end of contemplation about death. Tear as a verb also if you want grammatical ambiguity, but the tear (v) would be the tear (n).

My Reply:

To Mr. R. Eberhart:

Death nigh unto life, lay questions of tomorrow
Four doves in the grave, blight then, now sorrow
O crystal Tear, of all be near, I shall not fear, I shall not fear!

3. W. H. Auden (Perhaps)

"Consider the years of the measured world begun,
The barren virtuous marriage of stone and water
Yet, O, at this very moment of a hopeless sigh..."

My Reply:

To: Mr. W.H. Auden

Your "barren virtuous marriage of stone and water"
Is a ring in my heart where name and image meet.

You paint a soothing ocean in the summer
Black stones glittering gold cobwebs ponder
Underneath stones sparkling ripples of kiss
My lips supple - still, pure pink for your love
Lithe for your flesh; be for you, Dear love.

4.Dylan Thomas: After the Funeral (in Memory of Ann Jones)

"I know with her scrubbed and sour humble hands
Like with religion, in their cramp, her threadbare
Whisper in a damp word, her wits drilled hollow
Her fist of a face clenched on a round pain..."

The poet ends by praying that:

"This monumental /argument" his poem carved from Anne's virtues "storm him forever," until the stuffed fox comes alive and dry fern lays seeds on the window -sill.

My Reply:

To: Sir Dylan Thomas

Could there be a love like Michael Furey's love?
Could Ann Jones be the reality of Gretta?
What other thoughts tie Sir James with you?
And me, and the others? Perhaps love, that of Auden.

Scrubbed and sour humble hands of old Anne
Clench monuments for the boys shedding dry leaves

And I, now a mother, a womb of oceans
My naked chest for the world

And after all the lovers gone
Vigor and bloom on window sills
Everything fades from a love, all transient like grass

Only funerals in choir of angels
Only God's love eternally lasts

And for my lover, my lover, my lover
Haul me up your arms when in death;
Nigh your heart, nigh your breath,
In peace, cast away my fear
To Father God, I shall forever rest.

Did I make sense, Sir? Thank you for the poems. God bless the poets!

rose flores martinez, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Peep Into The Dead of James Joyce

A love unrequited: in all forms. The boy from the gasworks is Michael Furey, one love that Gretta kept in her heart for all time, and who seized terror to Gabriel (orating to vulgarians, with superior education, etc.), Gretta's husband.

"The Dead," includes many characters. It shows a conundrum of personas about how one could look after life and go on traveling until the light. According to some critics, the author had grown into realizing his own flight when he wrote The Dead. And as written by the noted biographer, Richard Ellman, "The Dead is his first song of exile."

Sad feelings open wide the writers eyes, and sometimes, in fiction bare something real for the world. To turn away from the real, but in fiction, makes an artwork perfect. Something you cannot touch can be perfect while feelings expose matters of the heart.

As for me, (I am not Irish; but English as my second language) just reading the title "The Lass of Aughrim" carves a deep hole in my stomach. And so as I try to listen to its melody; it sounds like an anthem (like a national anthem) and very sad for a love story that happens only once (as in the lyrics), unfulfilled but complete such the lines "between you and me."

The story bites a painful narration about death, as Faukner's (William) "A Rose for Emily." And though the metaphors used are alive, incomparable, and extraordinary James Joyce creates an atmosphere of facing a task for all, like making death as concrete as life.

The setting of the story is during the night and with the snow. However, it does not actually say, it is Christmas. But many say "Christmas is not complete without snow." In other parts of the world, Christmas blows December breeze. Christmas can symbolize birth, and snow can symbolize death as in many stories. Frost's (Robert) "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening," connotes about life's journey, as well.

In my country, which is the Philippines, we do not have snow but windows and lamplights that come evident of peeping unto life. And in any place, life is time moving as "There is a stage out the window; the eyes as windows of the soul;" and lights on: lamp, candles, chandeliers, or match flames become an etch of hope, or a silhouette and mystery of waiting for dawn or becoming (The Little Match Girl) one with the Creator.

Gabriel in "The Dead" sees what life could have been, that instead of hating Gretta he is then moved to pity.

"Generous tears filled Gabriels eyes. He had never felt like that himself towards any woman but he knew that such a feeling must be love. The tears gathered more thickly in his eyes and in the partial darkness he imagined he saw the form of a young man standing under a dripping tree. Other forms were near. His soul had approached that region where dwell the vast hosts of the dead."

rose flores martinez

On Theme: Death In The Woods

In fiction, there is always a central idea. Whether it be a poem, a short story, or drama; these are centered on a theme. In most cases, the theme is the generalization about the meaning of the story.

Leo Tolstoy once told a friend:

The most important thing in a work of art is that it should have a kind of focus, like where all the rays meet or from which they issue. And this focus must not be able to be completely explained in works. This indeed is one of the significant facts, about a true work of art - that it's content in its entirety can be expressed only by itself.

Readers interpret texts as they see life. The author writes a human experience in different ways to express an idea that branches into a lot more of profound thoughts.

Death in the Woods by Sherwood Anderson shares a theme about a woman who lives in the woods. And there in the woods, she dies, too.

An ordinary woman in the beginning becomes extraordinary in the end. In fact, the story connotes that she can be more beautiful than the others, "I remember the picture in the forest, the men standing about the naked-girlish looking figure, face down in the snow..."

Anderson, in the story, refers only to "She" as one of the nameless ones who hardly anyone knows. And once in the story calls her name Grimes, who lives with a mean husband and ungrateful son on the bank of a small creek miles away from the town.

Grease, grime and woman where in some instances, become a domestic woman's affiliation. Grime means filth, and being covered with unclean things. The occupation and daily routine of this woman becomes to be feeding the animals in her home, and in the woods. Her sad past life, buries her to chores like getting everything fed.

Falling snow, frozen body in the white snow, and alone dying in the woods make the theme so human but spectacular. The howling dogs could not eat her body, as hyenas would eat a corpse in a full moon. They only bite into the cloth of the old woman keeping the dog-meat. The story says, "I had seen the oval in the snow, like a miniature race-track where the dogs had run, and had seen how the men were simply mystified..."

Life, obviously, brings something true in death, that barren sadness and everlasting peace. And sometimes, that miracle of God, of a holy body never to be torn or broken, but a plain magnificence of oblation.

I Shall Write For Eternity

One of the most memorable points in my life was when I had this chance to enter a masteral study in writing at DLSU.

I know I had to make a thick face on this. As a part-time writer, a part- time teacher, and a full-time housekeeper I had to make way for a better me, as I age and start to wrinkle. Writing is a prize for my homely life, as to how I could write (worse or better), is a gift from God to share. My major comes with numbers, although writing was my first love; I'm aware I have to do back-steps and advance slowly again like doing the waltz. Watch the first beat!

In my writing journey, I met many good people that shared more than I've expected. After getting almost all (and more) of the subjects, and in my "failed and passed tests"; I have learned to appreciate how one pious writer weaves his/her work with passion. More than these, those writers I've read and just met in books came close to my heart.

And so, from a magazine writer, to a PR writer, to a lifestyle contributing writer, to a web content writer, and of course, that first writing group that got etched on my bones: the "KATINIG," a writing group of Filipino fiction writers (from Liwayway with Sir R. Duque and Dan Meneses). I am indebted to the professors, editors, writer friends, and book authors who inspired and challenged me. I have arrived intact, focused and armed for the next sets after me, though I still have to row unstopping.

Meanwhile on Facebook, Collete's words as posted by Professor Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo, says "Only describe what you have seen. Look long and hard at things that please you, even longer and harder at what causes you pain. Try to be faithful to your first impressions. Set no store by the unusual expression. Don't wear yourself out telling lies."

As usual, the bright professor gets keen at guidelines for writers. One master poet, my teacher "Ma'am Marjorie Evasco- Pernia, introduced good books to us like the books of Cristina Pantoja - Hidalgo, and other devoted writers. I've even searched for the books at Power Books, way back.

Writing, many writers say is a lonely life. It is in fact, a life so harrowing. Every time, you go deeper into it, you would feel the vastness of its meaning whether happy or sad. From Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet, to Stein on Writing: all the words reach a climax in the writer's soul, then down to denouement, then rises up slowly to come back and face the normal bugs of life. At least, to write the truth or not to write the truth is the question. Later, something would come to be discovered. But that's not what matters; what matters is the writer's work and how authentic he/she went into its creation. What can you say about Shakespeare then?

In my life, my words are small offerings for anyone. Those words must come from the depths how I lived life, and how others became part of that life. I cherish all that is in my heart, so shall I write for eternity.

Hansel and Gretel9