(Notable Quotables is a meme originally brought to you by the Bewitched Bookworms. Every Monday you’re invited to share a favorite quote or two from the books you’ve been reading.)
I’m not the biggest fan of poetry, but it’s impossible to take four years of advanced English without finding at least a few authors whose scribblings I enjoy.
Okay, so in reality I might actually rather stick needles in my eyes than read Sylvia Plath, but the one exception is my liking of her poem Metaphors. See if you can catch the theme and the hidden message:
“I’m a riddle in nine syllables,
An elephant, a ponderous house.,
A melon strolling on two tendrils,
O red fruit, ivory, fine timbers!
This loaf’s big with its yeasty rising.
Money’s new-minted in this fat purse.
I’m a means, a stage, a cow in calf.
I’ve eaten a bag of green apples,
Boarded the train there’s no getting off.”
I’m not really certain where I first saw this second poem (Getting Out, by Cleopatra Mathis), but it was probably somewhere in one of my anthologies for class. It’s a sad topic, but I love it anyway.
“That year we hardly slept, waking like inmates
who beat the walls. Every night
another refusal, the silent work
of tightening the heart.
Exhausted, we gave up; escaped
to the apartment pool, swimming those laps
until the first light relieved us.
Days were different: FM and full-blast
blues, hours of guitar ‘you gonna miss me
when I’m gone.’ Think how you tried
to pack up and go, for weeks stumbling
over piles of clothing, the unstrung tennis rackets.
Finally locked into blame, we paced
that short hall, heaving words like furniture.
I have the last unshredded pictures
of our matching eyes and hair. We’ve kept
to separate sides of the map,
still I’m startled by men who look like you.
And in the yearly letter, you’re sure to say
you’re happy now. Yet I think of the lawyer’s bewilderment
when we cried, the last day. Taking hands
we walked apart, until our arms stretched
between us. We held on tight, and let go.”
I think that Mathis’ poem does a good job of capturing the anger and sadness of a relationship’s ending, and also the hope, no matter how small, that things will be okay.
What do you think about poetry? What are you reading this week?