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The Rattle Bag: The A Poems 
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The A Poems
froglipz wrote:
"Autobiography"--Every time I look up this poem, the stanzas are in all different orders, some of them omit the 'come back early or never come' line altogether and one puts them all at the end in a row. It is disturbing and I didn't even need the blurb about his mom to know something bad happened to her in his childhood, but I'm glad its there to give me some context.

How interesting. That's the way it sometimes is with poem texts. It could be due to the poet having himself published different versions, I guess. I like the poem a lot.



Tue May 31, 2011 7:42 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The A Poems
I like it too as disturbing as some of the images are. I also think about why this is all of it. It is titled autobiography and it seems nothing of importance happened to him after the age of 5....


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Tue May 31, 2011 9:42 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The A Poems
I think 'autobiography', is about the loss of childhood innocence. Before he was five, he might have had bad dreams and wake up scared in the night but his Mother would be there. The only one who can really comfort anyone.

We always want our Mums when things go wrong or get scarey. I still do.


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He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad....

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Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:07 am
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The A Poems
Returned To Say

When I face north a lost Cree
on some new shore puts a moccasin down, l
rock in the light and noon for seeing,
he in a hurry and I beside him.

It will be a long trip; he will be a new chief;
we have drunk new water from an unnamed stream;
under little dark trees he is to find a path
we both must travel because we have met.

Henceforth we gesture even by waiting;
there is a grain of sand on his knifeblade
so small he blows it and while his breathing
darkens the steel his eyes become set

And start a new vision: the rest of his life.
We will mean what he does. Back of this page
the path turns north. We are looking for a sign.
Our moccasins do not mark the ground.


The cadence of the lines, especially the first 4, has been with me for a long time. Maybe I heard him read this. The poet tries to enter imaginatively into the world of the Cree and tries to restore that world. He seems to be trying to work out some way that history could have turned out differently from the conquering and extermination that happened. The Cree has a different way of being in the world. The speaker imagines brotherhood with the Indian and knowledge of that world. It's not a literal vision, of course, as "back of this page" (which I love) and "Our moccasins do not mark the ground" indicate. I like the simplicity of the poem and the way that Stafford can nevertheless make a word like "henceforth" work.



Last edited by DWill on Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:49 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:48 am
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The A Poems
This is the penultimate poem beginning with 'A'. Tomorrow's poem will be the last one before we go onto the Bs.

There were a lot of 'A' poems weren't there? I don't think there will be quite so many poems of the other letters, except perhaps the T's.


AUTO WRECK
Karl Shapiro

Its quick soft silver bell beating, beating
And down the dark one ruby flare
Pulsing out red light like an artery,
The ambulance at top speed floating down
Past beacons and illuminated clocks
Wings in a heavy curve, dips down,
And brakes speed, entering the crowd.
The doors leap open, emptying light;
Stretchers are laid out, the mangled lifted
And stowed into the little hospital.
Then the bell, breaking the hush, tolls once,
And the ambulance with its terrible cargo
Rocking, slightly rocking, moves away,
As the doors, an afterthought, are closed.
We are deranged, walking among the cops
Who sweep glass and are large and composed.
One is still making notes under the light.
One with a bucket douches ponds of blood
Into the street and gutter.
One hangs lanterns on the wrecks that cling,
Empty husks of locusts, to iron poles.

Our throats were tight as tourniquets,
Our feet were bound with splints, but now,
Like convalescents intimate and gauche,
We speak through sickly smiles and warn
With the stubborn saw of common sense,
The grim joke and the banal resolution.
The traffic moves around with care,
But we remain, touching a wound
That opens to our richest horror.
Already old, the question, Who shall die?
Becomes unspoken, Who is innocent?
For death in war is done by hands;
Suicide has cause and stillbirth, logic;
And cancer, simple as a flower, blooms.
But this invites the occult mind,
Cancels our physics with a sneer,
And spatters all we knew of dénouement
Across the expedient and wicked stones..


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Wed Jun 01, 2011 12:37 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The A Poems
I don't think this one works for me...


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Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:25 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The A Poems
Do we know who is taking on the "B"'s?


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Si vis pacem, para bellum: If you wish for peace, prepare for war.


Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:26 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The A Poems
I hope someone with do the Bs next.

Measure for Measure - William Shakespeare

Act III. Scene I. ( A room in prison)

Ay, but to die, and go we know not where;
To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot;
This sensible warm motion to become
A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
In thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice;
To be imprisoned in the viewless winds
And blown with restless violence round about
The pendant world; or to be worse than worst
Of those that lawless and incertain thought
Imagine howling --- 'tis too horrible!
The weariest and most loathed worldly life
That age, ache, penury, and imprisonment
Can lay on nature is a paradise
To what we fear of death.


I know we've done this in the top 500 but it is definitely worth a repeat performance.


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He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad....

Rafael Sabatini


Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:04 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The A Poems
Auto Wreck
On first reading I was not sure about it, but by the second time through I round it quite powerful, not so much the first section at first, but the second one pulled me in. Interesting perspective. This was my favorite line:
'And cancer, simple as a flower, blooms.'

I can't offer to do the B's because I am leaving in a week for a ten day vacation and it looks like there are almost as many B's as A's.



Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:30 pm
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The A Poems
OK, I'll give a go at the B's starting tomorrow evening Minnesota time...


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Si vis pacem, para bellum: If you wish for peace, prepare for war.


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Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:33 am
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The A Poems
Oh thanks frog. I was going to carry on until someone took over, but I'm glad of a break. Thankyou.


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He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad....

Rafael Sabatini


Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:25 am
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The A Poems
Penelope wrote:
I think 'autobiography', is about the loss of childhood innocence. Before he was five, he might have had bad dreams and wake up scared in the night but his Mother would be there. The only one who can really comfort anyone.

We always want our Mums when things go wrong or get scarey. I still do.


I also like this poem. When I read it the poem I thought about the process of shutting down emotionally when the adults do not respond to the child appropriately.



Sat Jun 04, 2011 7:01 am
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The A Poems
ppssssssttttt........we're over in the 'B's now....


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Si vis pacem, para bellum: If you wish for peace, prepare for war.


Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:41 am
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The A Poems
froglipz wrote:
ppssssssttttt........we're over in the 'B's now....

:lol:
Sorry, I've been delinquent. I promise I will be back.



Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:59 am
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Post Re: The Rattle Bag: The A Poems
LoL that wasn't aimed at anyone in particular, I remember falling off when we switched threads a couple times in the 500. I thought I would just give a little reminder in case anyone missed the switch.


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"I'm not insane, my mother had me tested"

Si vis pacem, para bellum: If you wish for peace, prepare for war.


Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:00 am
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