Visions of Pasaquan is the first poetry reading to be held during the Artists for Pasaquan festival on the grounds of St. Eom’s Pasaquan, the home of the late Eddie Owens Martin, St. Eom. Along with many other poets, I will be reading a few of my poems. I’m looking forward to seeing the art, listening to good music, and experiencing Pasaquan. Of course, the day won’t be complete without tasting a cosmic pickle!
Last Sunday I read some poems at the Pine Lake Poetry Festival, organized by poet Lynn Alexander. Pine Lake is a neighborhood in metro Atlanta with a small lake (more of a pond, really). Funky, artistic houses circle the lake, and along a side street vendors set up their arts and crafts and funnel cakes. The poetry reading took place at the gazebo. Lots of love and friendship was generated.
Thanks to the Tampa Review for including my poem “Perimeter Shopping Trip” in their latest issue, number 45/46. It’s a gorgeous, hardbound book filled with lovely poems and artwork, and I’m very happy to have my poem alongside such gems.
Although the poem stands on its own, I’m posting the painting I wrote to, Au bonheur des dames by Remedios Varo. She in turn was writing to the novel by the same title by Emile Zola. A labyrinth of inspirations.
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In book four of The Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian, while the boys are skinning a slain bear for its meat, Lucy says to Susan,
Wouldn’t it be dreadful if some day in our own world, at home, men started going wild inside, like the animals here, and still looked like men, so that you’d never know which were which?
Susan doesn’t respond to Lucy’s fears, saying instead that they have too much to worry about right now in Narnia.
The dwarf has just killed a grey bear with an arrow after it tried to attack them; Susan hesitated to release her arrow because she thought it might be one of the talking bears she used to know when she was queen in Narnia.
It is a tricky line of reasoning for CS Lewis, since in the books the talking animals do eat fish and bacon, and in general behave as people did in mid-century England. They avoid killing whenever possible except in self defense. It seems like fish don’t count, only mammals, and bacon apparently is in its own food group!
The idea is that if a creature has the ability to reason, it should be treated with compassion. And even if it can’t reason but is not attacking, we should be gentle and kind with it.
Of course, if an animal were going to attack, we would defend ourselves. Humans are animals too. And unfortunately, some humans seem to have lost the ability to control their anger or fear and, armed with guns, they attack.
Sometimes society can be like Lucy’s fears, that we can’t tell the evolved humans from the ones who have lost a good part of their hearts. Who hasn’t met up with people who lie and manipulate for their own, hidden agendas?
The trick is to meditate, to stay true to our hearts, to be outdoors and in nature, to keep a clear mind and not fall into the dream of “getting and spending” and “laying waste our powers,” as Wordsworth put it so well almost two hundred years ago.
“It was no dream; or say a dream it was,
Real are the dreams of Gods, and smoothly pass
Their pleasures in a long immortal dream.”
Three lines from Lamia, by John Keats, July-August, 1819.
After I read this passage I decided to copy it down. I need to let the thoughts about the gods’ dreams settle in me for a few days. Maybe it’s just another reason to wish I were immortal. But maybe I can be a god if I dream the right dream.
The speaker is describing a scene in which the beautiful, sad serpent Lamia has lifted the cloak of invisibility from a nymph who has beguiled the god Hermes. Now Hermes can see his love, and she is not a dream.
Dream: I look in the mirror and realize I have turned into a young Black woman. I have beautiful dreadlocks that sweep away from my face and fall over my shoulders. My eyes are big and wide, and my mouth is full. I’m surprised and pleased at this sudden transformation, but there is also the recognition that this woman has been inside me all along.
Before I had time to recall my dreams in the morning, I picked out a few poetry collections to bring on our road trip to Chicago–Nikky Finney’s Head off and Split was one. While reading the first piece in the book, “Resurrection of the Errand Girl: an Introduction,” I remembered my dream.
It’s an inspirational book. It looks like my car ride to Chicago will be a good one.