Wednesday, April 20, 2011

April Bonus Poem: I Will Build My Cottage

April is National Poetry Month (silly concept, actually) and I happen to have been writing a lot of them lately (for me). I think of poetry as speech that is skewed toward the numinous, making compromises with sense in order to draw up something unexpected and until then hidden. With a definition like that, you can write prose poetry, you can play with formalities any way you like.

I love poetry but do not read much of it any more. What I love is that people write poems, and hardly know themselves what for. It will always be a minority report, misfit ruminations. In the case of my own poems, I think of them as rudimentary observations. Very simple, very tonal and moody. Certainly not deep.

Anyway, a couple of mornings back while jogging I passed a purple and orange house with lobster traps stacked in the side yard, and I thought, "I'd like to build a little cottage in the back of that house," and knew then that I had a poem in mind. It recalls an old poem by William Butler Yeats, Lake Isle of Innisfree. That one begins:
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
I knew immediately that the poem gestating in me as I ran would be a kind of Lake Isle poem, so, well, I jogged home and wrote it. I'm calling it, I Will Build My Cottage.
I will build my cottage
in the back yard of the purple and orange house
on the pebble road to the beach, the one
with the lobster traps stacked
against the green fence,

under the old willow,
and it will be made of sea wrack
and sea foam, and painted the color of islands,
and flash in the light like a gull’s wing
in the morning,

and there will I wile my time,
lost to the world of plans and contingencies,
carefully sculpting my stories,
becoming a legend.


Mark Babikow said...'re a poet...maybe I haven't read enough of your blog to see it before. Sorry....I am a slow learner...

Bob Spencer said...

Well, it's kind of an occasional thing around here, easy to miss.

Glynn said...

Your poems are far from rudimentary observations. And you should write more of them.

Bob Spencer said...

Thanks, Glynn. I guess I meant by rudimentary . . . well I don't know what I meant exactly, but I take what comes without much refinement or heavy lifting. I didn't mean to sound like I was deprecating the poems, because I do like them myself, for the most part. I'd like to write more but don't like to push it. I enjoy the feeling of receiving them, like the mail, and accepting what comes, when it comes. But definitely, here's to more poetry!

Anonymous said...

✒ ♡ ☺ ☆ ✜ ❤ ! ☀ ☂

hey, this is a totally cool one.
i slurped-up every bit and licked the dish.

also the bit about your running and thoughts was a fun story.

Kat Mortensen said...

Brilliant! I love it and the senses take flight upon reading it.

Kat Mortensen

Bob Spencer said...

thanks, all of you. Glad you liked it. I did too!

Maureen said...

Came over from Nancy's.

I enjoyed your poem very much. It's wonderful, really.

Simply Darlene said...

And I came over from miss Nancy's as well... I think it's a good gift to find play in poetry.

I am your 2nd paragraph, 2nd sentence.


Laura said...

I'm here from nancy's too! I have to say that your words gave me that deep sigh of longing. I could see your cottage behind the purple and orange house. And it is so lovely.

Bob Spencer said...

Wow, thanks Nanci for sending your friends over this way. And thanks for the props, all. It seems that we all have a similar dream of a cottage somewhere!

Louise Gallagher said...

This is delightful! -- and nAncY sent me here.

I'll be back. Please keep posting -- rudimentary or not -- your writing's awesome.

Anonymous said...

i wanted to share your post with people that i know would like to read it.

it is a wonderfully fun read.

thanks so much for sharing it.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Interesting on poems. Nice one from you. :-)

SippicanCottage said...

Can't go wrong with Yeats, Bob. And believe me, I know cottages.