Thursday, July 13, 2006

lost at sea



Dave just got this unbelievable fat poetry anthology called Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century. It's all poets born after 1960 who have published three or fewer books. Hot! Hot hot!

Here's a poem that's apropos for us these days, by Patty Seyburn:

First Bookshelf

There is a duck lost at sea when
his crate breaks after the boat is
destroyed. Tossed, overturned,
claimed and buoyed by a frigid
ocean, he observes the moon and
stars, knows loneliness, isolation
and lack of purpose. He wonders
if he'll find a home. There is a
monkey who makes countless,
thoughtless errors and manages
to redeem himself with friendly,
anonymous counsel. He makes
great messes and never seems
to gain an awareness of what
others endure on his behalf. He
is not held accountable for his
mistakes. A royal elephant has
appropriate adventures and an
extended family. A huge dog
with morals means well but his
size often inhibits his ability to
reach his goals. He frequently
learns to compensate for his errs
by giving rides, providing shelter,
protecting the meek. There is a
mouse with balletic grace, while
her tiny cousin has nothing but luck
and the charm of the weak: you
can't choose your family. There is
another mouse, crudely drawn in
primary colors, whose exploits are,
at best, prosaic. She keeps company
with an elephant, an alligator, and
a female of ambiguous species.
She drives a bus, cleans house,
bakes gingerbread, takes a bath,
attends the fair. She is middle class.
And yet another mouse, with many
paid friends and a girlfriend, sister
or cousin, also paid. They used to
keep silent but have, of late, learned
language, which has increased their
popularity but drained the pathos
from their exploits. A company of
pigs, an obdurate spider, a ravenous
caterpillar that endures change and
sheep: lost, defiant, naked. The duck
story is somewhat true except that
we are given the duck's perspective,
which must be questioned, as we have
no small stake in believing that we
are the only ones who understand
that we exist, with little notion of why.

Finn sometimes will cry out briefly in his sleep, and I wonder if he's having a bad dream. I hate the idea. He's too little for a bad dream. And what would his bad dream be? Does it have to do with daily, earthly baby concerns? Does he dream he's stuck in a terry cloth sleeper soaked in baby cheese? Does he dream that he's thirsty for milk and facing a frustrating empty breast? Or does he have dreams of some complicated, more adult-feeling before-life? Does he miss where he came from? Does he have friends he left behind, wherever he was? Does he dream of being large and articulate and powerful, or does he dream about some former articulate glory? The little cry is so brief, but so pained. It rips pieces off of my heart and eats them.

4 comments:

Heels said...

Ohh, that hurts me to think about. I hope he's crying out from gas pain, which is what my unromantic mother would say.

That poem is my reading life before 8 p.m., I think.

Boliath said...

Oh god, wait until he screams Mommy Mommy but stays asleep crying or whimpering...it's like having a vice grips slowly tightening on your heart. Luckily a whispered sshh baby boy I'm here, Mommy's here seem sto help and he shifts positions and goes back to sleep hopefully to dream of duckies and bunnies and not whatever it was that was frightening him before. Jees this Mothering thing goes deep eh?

Robin said...

Jackson would do that too. I decided it was a birth memory.

But there is good dream stuff too. Jackson just started baby swim lessons, and the other morning, as he laid there sleeping, he just had the sweetest grin on his face, and he was kick, kick, kicking.

kww said...

Eloise too. She gets a pouty lower lip which is so cute in the moment before her forehead wrinkles and she cries out. It is true though, that talking to her and even asking her to smile seems to sometimes work in this weird time/space where what is happening in her head is bobbing to the surface of real life. I hope that telling her good things and talking about smiling changes the course of whatever is in her head.

And yeah, Simon talking in his sleep--saying No No--is killer--who knows what is going on in his mind? This morning he came and told us he had a bad dream that he lost his papa, and couldn't find him and then he was gone forever, like dead. ooh it is horrible. But worse was that I was too exhausted and sleepy to deal with it and he was asleep again (in our bed) before it even had really been processed in my mind. Who wants to bring THAT up again in the morning.

kiss that baby, tell him to smile smile for me...he has an ADORABLE smile...really, so cute!
kww