Wednesday, April 22, 2009

IN RETROSPECT

Art by Donald Axleroad



IN RETROSPECT


In the dead chill of emptiness
where sound cannot vibrate
alone I remember being sick
in the mountains almost always
spring


Corners were cut close then
beside daffodil elixirs spilling
over onto chimney stones pitched
on the sides of steep hills burnt by
fires


I wonder now if those monsters
were merely chimaeras welcoming
me into paradise standing under
the flutter of peacock wings and
smoke


Or did they breathe and roar
and grow hair just for the travelers
who would pass them at light speed
rejoicing only to slump back again
sick

22 comments:

Linda S. Socha said...

I absolutely love this....It resonates with me....Love the art work used with it. Lets face it. I just love your poetry period:>)
Linda

Catvibe said...

K, wow, you have described the fever monsters perfectly, but I never heard them put into a literary form that gives them such life as this poem. The imagery and metaphor in this poem is amazing.

Aniket said...

Two thumbs up K. :-)

Loved the metophorical desciption.
And a very smooth read helped to make a connection.

Loved the artwork too :-D

Margaret said...

K. Fabulous! - Your imagination is astonishing. What you come up with in your poems is just unbelievable.

Dave King said...

That does it for me. The art work is of a very high quality and the poetry goes on from there. Impressive.

joaquin carvel said...

my head is spinning.

this drew me into a breathless first read...then i slowed down for a few more...there is such a vivd texture, painted with the broad brush of memory - like the woodcut - and the lines rise and fall like measured breath.

"chimney stones pitched
on the sides of steep hills burnt by fires" and "the flutter of peacock wings and smoke" are otherworldly - this is one of my absolute favorites.

trooping with crows said...

"where sound cannot vibrate" and

"Or did they breathe and roar
and grow hair just for the travelers" are my best liked lines in this one.

Incredible and mentally haunting!
The colors of the art match the mood of the poem perfectly. (I want to discuss this poem further this weekend! Too much to say to write here!)

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Linda - many thanks for those very kind words.


Cat - I appreciate those words of high praise. Thank you, friend.


Hi, Aniket - Thanks a bunch for tuning in. Glad you liked it!


Margaret - That is what my mom used to say to me, when I was little. ;) I appreciate your comment so much.


Dave - Glad this resonated with you. I do appreciate your kind support.


Hi, Joaquin - haha...so is mine (always). I appreciate your fine reflection on this poem. Your support of my work means so much to me.


Hey, thanks Merissa! I knew you might like this one. Definitely we'll have more discussion about this poem and other blogger's poems (you know who you are..)this weekend!

To quote an egghead..."See ya, Riss."

Karen said...

K - Blogger must have lost my comments, so I'll try again. If you get both, you can delete this one if you want.

I have loved everything you've written, but I'm coming to appreciate your talent more and more as you continue to share these here.

The structure of this is striking. There's a stream of consciousness feel to it that allows the emotional aspects of the memory to stand out in sensory images.

The image of the monsters is mythical, almost frightening. They remind me of the "rough beast slouching toward Bethlehem." Giving them that sort of weight (or were they
"merely chimaeras welcoming
me into paradise...")makes them and the memory both take on epic proportions.

This is really, really good.

Karen said...

Oh, I forgot to mention the pairing with the picture. Superb.

jason evans said...

I've felt this way recently. The underworld of fever and hallucination.

So skillful. As always. :)

Minister of the Masochistic Truth said...

The image of an emptiness where sound can not vibrate is interesting as it challenges the conventional notion of how something hollow normally is haunted by reverberation that rattles on, almost as a taunt...

The burnt hills and chill of emptiness also creates an uncertain complexity, echoed (no pun intended) in the ultimate question of the nature of the monsters (can monsters be welcoming? - again, a subtle complexity as one tends to associate monsters with bad things).

The whole poem is made rather mystic with it's referal to elixirs, etc.

The final two stanzas are brilliant!

the walking man said...

And to think I spent a great portion of youth looking for hallucinations...if I'd only known all I needed was a fever.

Wonderful write here. Thanks for that.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Hey, Karen - I truly appreciate your support of my work - it means a lot to me, for sure. Glad this one held special meaning for you. Thanks so much for the good comments.



Jason, it is amazing what one can "see" when under the influence of fever and illness, and it is surprising what makes one feel better, as well. Thanks, my friend.


Minister - I am amazed at what you extract. Thanks for all the good reflective comments.


Walking Man - LOL!

I know, right?

Thanks for stopping by OMM, I do appreciate it! And thanks, too, for the nice remarks.

Sarah Hina said...

K, you've captured the ease with which our minds switch between the beautiful and macabre. A fever is a place of extremes, and so are we while under its influence. The last stanza is chilling in its reach.

I love the scene setting here. Especially that second stanza, with its elixirs, leaning/clinging, and trials by fire. A perfect place for monsters to dwell, as it seems a surreal landscape somewhere between place and mind.

Beautiful language as always, K. I loved the mystical feel to this one.

laughingwolf said...

klg, you continue to amaze... :)

Mairi said...

I've been trying to imagine the physical location of the action and have come up with an old fashioned hospital in an enclosed garden somewhere almost tropical, with a view out over a fire ravaged hillside. Maybe a malaria fever. Maybe a war zone. Maybe a hundred things. And all the hundreds of eyes in the feathers looking out of the poor narrator's hallucinations. You can feel the drift in and out of fever. It feels like I've seen a movie and remembered the wonderful setting but forgotten the plot.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Hi, Sarah - I like the way you put that - "...switch between the beautiful and macabre." and "... as it seems a surreal landscape somewhere between place and mind."

Oh, so true. I appreciate your very insightful reflections. You always know my mind....


LW - Thanks so much for that nice compliment - I'll take it. :P
And while I have you here, please forgive me for not asking how your eyes are doing since the operation. Are you pretty much 100% now? I hope so.


Mairi - I loved reading your musings about this poem. As with many writings, thankfully, what inspires is not always as interesting or remarkable as what gets written down. But, on the other hand, the elements that make up this poem are illness, mountain people, elixirs, peacocks, and chimaeras, and smoke...hmmm - I guess the muse was pretty remarkable at that. Thanks!

Julie said...

What a great afternoon it is when I can grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the poetry of K. Lawson Gilbert! The structure of the poem, the beautiful images, the play on language, etc! It's all beautiful.

I love the fever as monster. The daffodil elixirs spilling onto chimney stones. The chimaeras. Oops. Did I misspell that? Aw, shoot. You know what I mean. It is all fantastic. Keep on writing! I'm so glad that you're here:)

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Julie - And...I am glad you are here to read my poems. Thanks. And congrats again on the chapbook. You really work hard to put your fantastic work out there -you deserve so much recognition! Can't wait to get my copy!(autographed, of course - ;P)

Vesper said...

Kaye, what could I add to what's been said above? I agree with all, and the beauty and the strangeness of your poem touch me at a level that's deeper than the words...

You have a wonderful relationship with your daughter. My older daughter, who's eight and a half, has started asking questions about what I write. Maybe, one day... :-)

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Vesper thanks so much for commenting on an older post...I love when readers do that. Glad you liked this one. I am happy at how it turned out...LOL

I know you are very close with your daughters, too. My kids are all grown now, but we are just as close as ever. I am sure you will find that to be true in your own life. I have a son, the oldest, and 3 daughters. My youngest just got married last summer. Thanks, my dear friend. Glad you could stop by.