Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The palace aphorisms: poetry series, nos. 46-50

aphorism no. 50

Let a star lead you willy-nilly until the poem is born.

for October 14

aphorism no. 49

The poem is a pomegranate of jewels and blood.

for October 13

aphorism no. 48

The poem is a question from the Sphinx and a mortal reply.

for October 12

aphorism no. 47

Poems have dwindled like the fairies, who were once fair and tall and swift, the shakers and ravishers of mortals.

for October 11, birthday of R, who has seen fairies and left them gifts

aphorism no. 46

The poet is born like Minerva from Zeus’s head—from the puckered, scarred tissue that marks the site of a grievous childhood wound.

for October 10, 2006

The picture above is by and of Michael Fäs of Aesch, Switzerland with "a fireball in [his] hand." Courtesy of the photographer and www.sxc.hu/.

7 comments:

  1. Yup, willy nilly - that's how I tend to do most things. Never failed me yet (well, it has actually but I'm ignoring that).

    Mmm - pomegranates...much underestimated fruit - and jewels and blood, that's just what it's like.

    And I love the idea of fairies. In Welsh they are called Y Telyth Teg - the beautiful people. They were supposed to have been cast out from heaven by 'God the father' during the fall of lucifer but 'God the Son' pointed out heaven would now be empty - so he stopped them where they were in mid-flight - some in the sea, some on the earth, some in mid air. And although they are naughty they don't do anything too evil because there is a chance they may still get back to heaven if they watch their step. Those are Welsh fairies.

    So what do you give to a fairy?

    I'll go away and be quiet now...

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  2. That's slightly different from what I knew about fairies--like it very much. I'm part Welsh, and have a very colorful 'Thomas' ancestor who was a feisty, fiery Welsh fighter in the backcountry of South Carolina during Revolutionary times. He and his kin were all whooping it up at Cowpens and elsewhere, and several of the women saw some lively heroine ride-to-save-the-boys activity.

    Well, we leave the fairies lake glass and worn shards of transferware and other pretty bits we find around the lake. R and N have a fairy stump where they leave presents. The gifts fly off fairly quickly, too.

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  3. Maybe the star is really a fairy in disquise leading one willy nilly.

    I love the idea of leaving fairies presents. I shall have to do this with my grandaughter, who I know sees all things enchanted.

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  4. Or maybe it is a tiny fierce demon.

    Tread with care.

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  5. Marly, all these bits and gems and moments are both lovely and wise. Had I more time I would be saying more than Yes!. But sometimes yes needs to be enough.

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  6. " a good poem frame agony and hang it on a wall,
    a good poem can let your feet touch China,
    a good poem can make a broken mind fly,
    a good poem can let you shake hand with Mozart,
    a good poem can let you shoot craps
    with the devil
    and win"
    From Defining the Magic by poet Charles Bukowski

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  7. jarvenpa,

    yes!

    &

    anon,

    thanks for the aphoristic poem...

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.