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

Monday, January 26, 2009

Poems in "Mezzo Cammin" winter issue

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The winter issue of Mezzo Cammin is up. It includes some short poems by me and my sequence, "The Throne of Psyche."

I'd love to get feedback on this group, so please fire away!

Look below for titles and the first two lines of each poem or section--a bite of the meal.



THE FOLIATE HEAD

Peering from medieval churches,
Dressed in leaves of ash and birches,

ARTIFACT

To me, the Magical Museum's prize
Looked made from barley-twists of glass, not horn,

THE THRONE OF PSYCHE

A soul's mysterious as any tree--
It drives a root as deadly low as hell,

I. HER GIRLHOOD

You see the limestone wall that catches light--
Those olive trees inside the circuit of stone?

II. ZEPHYR

A wind-horse or a man with wings of air,
A scent of resin and the greening earth. . .

III. THE MARRIAGE-BED

And if the palace seemed enchanted, how
Much more the bed, a marvel of the gods--

IV. TWO INCIDENTS OF CURIOSITY

My sisters armed me with a blade and fright
And oil-fire in an alabaster lamp

V. SYRINX SONG

A dazzle like a star that hid in stars,
Love flew away from me--he let me drop

VI. PSYCHE IN HELL

My former life was but a shade that drank
The blood of memory to speak the past;

VII. PSYCHE ENTHRONED

Beside my throne there stands a changing tree
Cleverly branched with winter icicles

THE GOOD-BYE

Good-bye, my borrowed bits of loveliness,
You necklaces of pomegranate seeds,

32 comments:

  1. Ah! Treasures from Marly
    cast upon the ether.

    i will have to print out the longer Throne of Psyche (blame it on dry eyes too long at the screen)

    but i wanted to say now that i reveled in the others...particularly the first and the last. Beautiful language makes the aches not so heavy and opens a curtain to a better view.

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  2. Thanks for reading, zephyr--

    And I'm glad you liked the shorter ones and are printing out the biggie...

    Yes, better views to you--and good cheer.

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  3. wow, that is really unique! awesome

    also love that pictures

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  4. Mistress O Susannah,

    The tiny blonde Galiquans are a people extremely fond of poetry. They have been known to recite it on the lovely turquoise beaches of their cities, and the Hursenators of the Galiquan Hursmid are known throughout the islands for their rhyming filibusters.

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  5. So, this morning i read them as you meant them to be read...one following the other and i find them a marvel. One of my favorite passages:

    I clambered up
    And listened to more prophecy of leaves,
    How I would shiver like an olive branch
    Before I tasted fate, how I was meant
    To be unlike all others of my world,
    How I would grow as radiant as a tree
    Below the burning chariot of sun.

    beautiful

    ANd, i'd forgotten that Zephyr with a Z was a he.
    Oh well.
    this zepher with a z is a she.

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  6. But you are a fructifying zephyr, as he was, linked to gardens.

    And thank you for telling me what you liked best--I'm glad you liked the sequence!

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  7. Marly,
    I cannot comment in any petty way on any individual line. They all seem hewn out of the right stuff, inevitable in their solidity, so I won't quarrel with them. I don't always get the references; they seem mixed--mythology and Harry Potter, for instance, in one of them. But I get the drift.
    I too loved the tree, but there was so much to love.

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  8. I have a couple small and teeny poems that I knocked off since starting to teach that workshop. I can send them to you, but I don't want to take you away from your constant writing. I am in awe of your productivity and the quality of your work.

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  9. Hmm, I don't imagine writing Potter poems, but I do draw on mythic things and their magic, and these elements pop up in poems. Rowling has so thoroughly made use of the "hero's way" that I can imagine one might see something in common.

    Oh, and Robbie,

    Send the little poems to me elsewhere. I have been a failure at looking at most of the pieces you and others have asked me about at the past year because I'm just buried in kid-related and writing-related and volunteer-related activities. I just don't find that I have enough of that precious substance, time.

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  10. I don't want to burden you with these little things. One of them went straight from the draft to publication, so I'm probably on a roll right now. I don't have time to send any out though right now.
    I did hear a story on NPR a couple of days ago and saw a poem coming directly out of it, so I wrote it. As usual, it is one of my critter poems.

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  11. The only real burden comes in when I'm not able to do a thing and put it off and it gets lost in the ongoing sluice of life--and then, like a proper child of the deep South, I feel guilty. The Georgia in me springs up!

    Maybe send them one at a time?

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  12. I came, I read, I was amazed and, wordless, went away. I've come back because the least I can do is tell you that's how it was.

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  13. MB,

    I take that as a very high compliment, coming from you! You know I just took a peek yesterday or the day before to see if the bluebird had brought any new poems... I hope all is very well with you and your Muse.

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  14. I have to say, I didn't catch anything that even faintly smacked of Harry Potter in any of the poems; although maybe I'm missing something, not having read the last volume. I enjoyed the Psyche sequence very much, especially Psyche in Hell, when Persephone (my favorite mythological character) was mentioned. When you think about it, there are some interesting parallels between Psyche's and Persephone's stories....

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  15. "Anonymous was a woman": must have been, to love Persephone best...

    Yes, there are interesting parallels (as well as to all variants on Beauty and the Beast), though I would much prefer being left on a mountain for Eros to being snatched through a crack in the earth by Hades.

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  16. Lovely stuff, Marly! I feel like it transports me to some long-ago age - and then tells me a wonderful story. I loved the Throne of Psyche the most!

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  17. Groundhog's Day--
    And hey, it's Candlemas, too--

    Hi Clare,

    Everybody has gone to visit a giant groundhog downtown, so here I am checking the mail and finding you. I'm pleased that you did some reading and found something to like!

    It's late where you are. Hope you had a grand writing day...

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  18. I think you need to let out Attorney Clendon out more often. I could could get to like him =)

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  19. Thank you, dear child...

    I must say that we share a devotion to history and fine hats. The milliner's art is sadly in abeyance, and I am comforted that, in your case at least, the world is a hatted world.

    Yours very sincerely,
    Attorney Clendon

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  20. thought you might be interested in this. THere is a woman who puts up a poem a radom poem each day and it appears on your friend page. Its kind of like finding an easter egg at random. Today/yesterday she asked people what their fav love poem was in honor of Val. and there are over 50 comments in responce. People really come out to support their fav love poems.

    http://exceptindreams.livejournal.com/107085.html

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  21. That the world be sprinkled with poems (rather than shrapnel and dust) is a good. Did you send a love poem?

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  22. yes, the first three that came to me were When YOu are Old and gray

    Sonnet by Edna St Vincent Millay

    and She dwelt among the untrodden ways. I never seem to get away from these three, especially the lucy poems. I love how he misses this person and nobody else does, but its made a huge difference to him. I like that. Then I also like the When you are old and gray. I love everything he says to her.

    She dwelt among the untrodden ways
    Beside the springs of Dove,
    A Maid whom there were none to praise
    And very few to love:
    A violet by a mossy stone
    Half hidden from the eye!
    Fair as a star, when only one
    Is shining in the sky.
    She lived unknown, and few could know
    When Lucy ceased to be;
    But she is in her grave, and, oh,
    The difference to me!

    After reading over all three I promplty went and passionatly listened to Mario Lanza's Nessun Dorma. I dont even care if it sounds cheesy. At least I feel human again.

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  23. Not finished reading here, just wanted to check in. Oh dear, I have such mixed feelings aobut my namesake by the mossy stone...

    Back later.

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  24. Well, you would give the portrayal of the Lucy-maiden a little extra scrutiny, wouldn't you? Nobody ever writes "Marly" sequences... "There once was a woman names Marly / Whose knees were exceptionally gnarly" etc. Maybe she only liked tea and barley. Anyway, nobody does it!

    Liked your new pictures--don't pause to take a look as often as I like now that I am more than usually busy--and hope that man, beast, and Lucy are quite well.

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  25. Lucy would cherish the name exchange if she had ever heard Poetry God Randy Cross deliver it...be still my heart.

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  26. Ah, I still look back on my Randy-and-Howard Day as remarkable! You know he has a new incarnation as a comic... You ought to get your school to bring him to visit English classes and do a show.

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  27. "The Palace at 2:00 a.m."


    Johnny Hates Jazz - I hate AM/PM it sucks!

    Ante Meridiem Post Meridiem.

    AM/PM ???

    It's non a non-sensical post colonial and post imperialistic time measurement.

    Should be banned!


    The time in Bangkok is now 21:57


    My phone, NOKIA 21:57
    My computer COMPAQ 21:57

    John K Lindgren
    BKKrepoter
    Bangkok

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  28. Say what?
    Hello Marly! Post woman!

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  29. Oh she of the gnarly knees. I like that. Actually, a Robbi limerick containing the word "slobby" would be truthful, at least.

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  30. Sorry!

    I've been in Cullowhee--I'll tell you about it on Monday when I have some time.

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  31. Your writing is unmistakable.
    You have a style I would recognise from the moon.
    It is priceless.

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  32. Hello, Jan--

    Just got in from North Carolina this evening (horribly sick of driving, too) and thought I would check my mail. It's good to find a Jan-note in the mailbox!

    That is a very high compliment, and I treasure it. Thanks.

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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.