holy poet

I’ve been reading a memoir, Holy Cow, and I came across a line that begged me to write it down. It goes like this: “Some stop to shave their heads, for every hair shed is ten thousand lives that don’t have to be lived.” I stopped on that page 2 days ago and when I picked the book back up my eyes did the same thing they did the last time, reread it, then reread it, then quietly toss it around on my tongue.

That line. I don’t know how you can ignore it. It’s haunting and visceral and itself lives ten thousand lives. The author is talking about the Khmbh Mela, an event where Hindus go en masse to bathe in the Ganges on a particular day to wash their souls clean. The details of the event get lost on me. I keep thinking about all the hairs I’ve ever shed causally, all the lives laying about my apartment, spared from pain and anguish, barred from love and glory.

That line, or its sentiment, will make a poem for me I think. It’s funny, how this writing stuff, this trying on of different forms, is churning and spurring poems in me again. I thought poetry was lost to me, gone to some other place where words and metaphors and images go to die. But poetry keeps coming back and I keep thinking of what Rita Dove once told me, “there is room for us all at the table.” Was she right? I don’t know. But poems and poetry keep looping about in my mind, in my world. They haven’t quite come down off my bookshelves, but lines keep coming to me. I wrote a whole poem last week, just like that, bam. And it was spurred by one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, Elizabethtown.

Poetry was a world I didn't understand wholely and at times I think I distanced myself from it even while living within it. My teachers wanted me to dig in and go to places in my writing that scared me, places that weren't perfect with eractic images and juxaposed lines and tossed about methaphors. I couldn't do it and so I stopped, just gave up. I couldn't let myself in my poetry be free. I couldn't give up the structure and comfort I thought I needed to make poetry, or maybe life, make sense.

The free flowing, hippy trippy life sounds good to me lately. Peace Corps or Mother India with sweat and heat and dirt seem like paradise compared to our overpriced, gas guzzilngly, unconnected lives. Sometimes I just wish to jump in and let the mud fly. I never do, but maybe poems are my mud flinging, my day at play. The author of Holy Cow is looking for spiritualness in whatever form feels most comfortable. I understand her plight, I’m looking for a writing form in whatever form works. She’s revering cows and making me think Yeats needs to revisit my bedside.

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com Blingo Self-Portrait Day
  • flickr!
  • ~ © Anna ~ it ain't Shakespeare, but it ain't yours either ~