Friday, August 24, 2007

An Inflorescence - A flowering of poetry every Friday (Contemporary Irish Poets - Ciaran O'Driscoll)

and now.....drum roll please....the official start of a regular Friday series of poetry (or perhaps it will be an irregular series, who knows?). The vote was unanimous (all two of us). It will be called An Inflorescence which is the title of a poem by Timothy Donnelly, whose Twenty-seven Props for a Production of Eine Lebenszeit I included as one of my four choices in the Summer Poetry Challenge. Feel free to send requests in the comments for favorite poets if you are so inclined.

In-flo-res-cence - from the Latin inflorescere - to begin to blossom. 1. the producing of blossoms; flowering; 2. the arrangement of flowers on a stem or axis; 3. a flower cluster on a common axis; 4. flowers collectively; 5. a solitary flower, regarded as a reduced cluster.

Today, an Irish poet. I was going to present several, but I might as well spread out the riches over the weeks (and have more time to read). What is it about that small green island that produces so many men and women obsessed with the crafting of words? Here's the Irish Literary Revival site, devoted to works by living Irish writers. It has access to all sorts of good stuff by contemporary writers (hat tip: From Boston to Berlin). Through it I discovered Ciaran O'Driscoll from Limerick, and his collection Gog and Magog from which I bring you the following two. I love the way the first poem has me enter the park as the protagonist did, climbing over the wall ungracefully, and how we don't see the poplar until after the fact, when he looks it up in a book. The second is at once a still life, a poem and a tryst. I love the unexpected combinations like lemon ghost and tightening rain.

The Uncompleted Park

Someone who dumped a mattress over the wall
provided me with a soft landing
in what a gate crested with flourishes
of iron penmanship, its middle dangling
a heavy chain and lock
like well-hung genitals, defined as park
and my eye defined as uncompleted.

Saplings were trained to posts
by wire in shoes of a rubber hose,
but paving stones were told apart by moss.
There was no seat, sculpture or fountain yet,
only a wild grass tame enough to let
the wild carrot's occasional crown and stalk
stand out and indicate the depth of space.

Between the entrance and the bank
of the old railway, I collected leaves
to take home and identify in a book,
and now I know it was the wind
switching a popular from green to silver
brought to my notice the uncompleted park
on the city's penny-pinched long finger.


There's a lemon ghost
of sunlight in my trails
of cloud, today I am
the suave eye-cheater
with yellows greens and browns

so finely modulated
you came for pleasure. I
am pliable, collapsing
neatly on to your bookish
frame of reference,

the eye nevertheless
is drawn into my depths
from small cromwellian fields
and scattered ice-age boulders.
Even as rain tightens

Over my curved rim
I am beckoning you
to endless bog. My charm
is at odds with all known
technologies of survival,

your feet on the tarred lane
talking you back from the edge
of fabled treachery.
Listen to the wind now,
my howling inwardness.


Anonymous said...

Great title!

Ted said...

Indeed, we share good taste.