Friday, December 09, 2005

Rhubarb Variation #1

Simon DeDeo's Rhubarb is Susan is back. His tastes are not identical with mine, but I normally find the poems he picks for review interesting, and his reviews always give me something to think about.

Beyond the aesthetic uses I put poems to, my reading normally involves two more or less imaginary operations. I tend to revise poems I read and to anthologize them. Both make me a kind of armchair editor. And I propose to make this activity public [post the results of this activity] every now and then, using Simon's selections as a point of departure.

Here, then, is what I did with Karol Wojtyla's (aka Pope John Paul II) "Girl Disappointed in Love":

It is time we measure pain
as we measure the meat
of bodies to discover our limits.

You are the center of things,
you said. If you would
only get it: the center is here,

and it, too, finds love. Why
don't you see the human heart
for what it is? What it's for.

2 comments:

Simon said...

Hello Thomas! Hope all is well. I do an analogous thing, or, rather, when I encounter a poem I *don't* like, I tend to start crossing things out. But when I encounter something I think passes a certain threshold of competence, I tend to "let be" -- try not to alter or decompose a poem. I suppose it's part of a desire to encounter something completely outside myself?

Thomas Basbøll said...

Both the editing and the anthologizing, for me, amount to emphasising the aspects of a poem I like. At least that day.

But I suppose there is a certain threshold where the majority of the "editorial" decisions involve putting it somewhere among other really good poems.

Good to have you back in the blogosphere.