[personal profile] wot_i_wrote
And so, my love, we come at last to this:
to courtroom hearings through the summer rain.
My heart, that you once purchased with a kiss,
beats yet for you, unwanted, broken, vain.

Love is a verb: it rests on what we do,
not what we feel, or say, or leave unsaid,
and so your distance stops me loving you,
undoes my promise, leaves me thus unwed.

But on my finger there's a silver band
to signify a lasting mark within.
We meet this way to end our marriage and
I feel infinity against my skin.

The judge is swift and fair, he will decide
but just division cannot this divide.

Date: 2007-08-13 09:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmabovary.livejournal.com
I really like this one, it has a soft quality to it. There's so much in it that speaks to me. Love is a verb: it rests on what we do, is a truth I often chew on (in fact, I have a similar thought on my info page); I especially like the use of the quiet word
"rests" rather than the more mundane "depends" or "relies"; I keep returning to the line "I feel infinity against my skin" and how that relates to the title of the poem.

Date: 2007-08-13 10:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nickbarnes.livejournal.com
Yes, this one is a keeper.
I meant it to be soft, like the rain that day. I have a terrible memory for lines, but on 13th July I had a notebook with me for other reasons and was able to jot most of this down as it came. Then there was a wait of several weeks for the rest.
Like so much of my poetry over the last year, it's addressed to a particular person (who might well never read it) and is based in part on words which have passed between the two of us. "Love is a verb" is verbatim from a long and tender phone conversation she and I had not long before the court date - the love under discussion then was not between us, but the principle is one which we have long shared.
My hind-brain then mulled over the consequence of that principle for our particular situation, and it gelled into the second quatrain here on the day of the hearing, sitting next to her in the waiting room, making small talk about the kids while our lawyers talked through the deal in the next room.
The first quatrain had arrived 20 minutes earlier, sitting in a cafe across the road from the court house, because I got into town early.
The title and the closing couplet came to me that evening. The judge was on the ball, quick, and visibly fair, and I could tell that whatever was finally decided about money would indeed be a fair division. And I knew at the same time that this financial matter was petty, trivial besides what is really broken, the thing which makes no sense in two pieces. "Not a number" is from "The Prisoner", of course, and also an extremely geeky reference to an aspect of my work.
But then the third quatrain took me two weeks. Does it help the reader to know that I wear a silver infinity symbol (a lemniscate) around my neck? Of course the un-reader of this sonnet knows it already: she gave it to me.

Date: 2007-08-14 03:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmabovary.livejournal.com
Thank you for the background on how this came about. It is interesting that the poem was formed in little bursts over time. That is quite different from my methodology, which is more listening to the words float around in my head for a couple of days, and then releasing them all down on paper at once...later going back and redacting (sometimes). It's the same for both my poetry and prose, but the prose seems to spring from one true line--like an anchor to the piece--and then I build around that. But I always keep my eye on the line I'm reaching towards throughout the story.

Yes, I had a sense that these were written for your ex. I've gone through most of your poems and these particular pieces are so sad that I just can't respond adequately to them. If it were just to respond to the techniques, I could comment, but that would be dismissing the real message and I couldn't do a disservice to that. So I'm just sitting on this for now. They are really really phenomenal and I'm so pleased to have run into your LJ. Not just because of the art, but also to this testimony that there are some men who are just---well, whole and loving (and hurting, sorry) and take honoring their family and marriage very seriously.

I will stop now lest I begin to sound like some right-wing, Bush-voting fundamentalist.

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