Professing * Reflecting

Friday, June 30, 2006

Friday poem, Robert Creeley


Having begun in thought there
in that factual embodied wonder
what was lost in the emptied lovers
patience and mind I first felt there
wondered again and again what for
myself so meager and finally singular
despite all issued therefrom whether
sister or mother or brother or father
come to love's emptied place too late
to feel it again see again first there
all the peculiar wet tenderness the care
of her for whom to be other was first fate.

In thinking about my relationships with men and what I may write for the upcoming 18th Carnival of Feminists over at Clare's, this poem comes to mind.

In my work and in my life, I am obsessed with woman as "other." I am deliberately using "woman" rather than "women" here. Although such a designation is capable of reducing the many different experiences of individual women into a singular and ultimately biologically determined essential meaning, "woman" carries a symbolic weight and meanings that function in very specific ways.

Here "woman" is "other." Otherness is specifically her fate. Only "her" works in the last line of a poem about the body as "other." Then there is the rhythm and pace of a poem with no pauses, enjambment in every line--a poem of enjambment, breathless, furious, collapsing into itself. It speaks to me on a personal level because lately, as has always been the case to some degree, my own alienation seems centered on the body, my own body. As a child, I had a recurring dream about looking down at various parts of body and seeing patches of green crystals embedded in my skin. I was fascinated and horrified. The dreams made me feel profoundly sad and disconnected from everyone around me and from myself. I still know that feeling.




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