dVerse — MTB 229 — Clouded Amber?

Honey Closeup Amber Sweet Honey In Honeycomb Transparent Honey Flows Down  The Honeycomb Stock Photo - Download Image Now - iStock

Days odd and even
even sun-crossed moon, are the
(the)ater of unresolved thoughts.
Thoughts waived, arrhythmic tattering honey.
Honey, swirled and cloudy, won’t;
wont to ooze and cling to heart and wing, stick,
stick(y), drippy cotton-candy paralysis, pre-fossilized to
to(tal) unsolved resolution. Ink-expressed, we may have
have(n) in comfort that what we leave, might-have-been
been seen with eyes to find new pieces that fit in
(in)sistent grailic quests in mysteries. Eyes close to dream the
(the)aters of tomorrow will sing with burnished, fragrant honey.

Peter Frankis is today’s host for dVerse‘ Meet the Bar. Peter says:

So tonight poets, I leave it up to you. Let’s write something on endings:
it could be a poem that plays with endings – where your lines don’t end properly but run off into the next line creating ambiguity and doubt.
it could be a golden shovel – find a poem (or indeed any other text) that annoyed you or that you loved, that spoke about change or resisted change, and use your golden shovel to comment, critique or cheer (don’t forget to tell us the poem that you’re quoting).
it could be a villanelle, pantoum, ghazal or any other repeating form which resists endings in favour of recurrence of emotion and memory.
it could be a poem with the good old ‘repeating the word just in case you missed it’ ending, or a surprise ending or a circular poem where the end brings us back to the beginning.
Today’s offering is a golden shovel form (which is also a serpent’s tail form that was created by Jane Dougherty), with a line taken from the following poem:

Sweet Enough Ocean, Cotton

by Thylias Moss
[excerpted from
her book Slave Moth
]

I haven’t seen the sea before
but it must be easy to love

because even without ever seeing it before
I call the blown-open cotton a sea,
I call moving through the rows
my attempt to walk on rough water.

It’s not that the cotton seems watery
or that each cotton seed hair is like
a separate one of the sparkles the sun makes
when its light bounces in moving water,

–though it is like that
now that I think about it.

It’s just how big
the cotton is. This small field

seems bigger than the sky,
and is the sky for ants. It’s just

how the cotton carries you,
delivers you on a rocky shore,
shipwrecks you,

strands you

even though you can’t argue
against what good it does

because you have been taken up in
the persuasion of a garment, of a cocoon.

I’ve been thinking about this.
While I’m working, I think
about this. My mind is the part of me
that gets the least rest.

It’s never quiet;
there’s always the hum
inside of me, the hive free inside me
making me think about honey, dipping
all my thoughts into honey

and even the thoughts honey won’t
stick to have been in the honey
,
have been next to honey so the knowledge
of honey is on them and the knowledge
all by itself is sweet enough.

I think about that, think how thinking
can be sweet enough

for now. Thinking about, thinking about
so much that is buried in the cotton.

Few months after we planted it,
I called the pink blooms of cotton before it ripened
an assault of endless sunset on the ocean.

Call it “the force,” call it what you will, Frost’s, “knowing how way leads on to way” is the modus operandi I’ve opened myself up to when it comes to inspiration, motivation, and all of the other -ations. How it applies here is that last week, I watched the film, “The Great Debaters,” and learned about the existence of Melvin B. Tolson, who was the professor that led the students from the small college in TX to a debate with Harvard’s debate team. Doing a little research on Tolson, I learned he was also a poet (and much more.) This led to my searching the district library for any books of Tolson’s poetry, which led me to the borrowed book of poetry, “black nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry,” edited by Camille T. Dungy. There is only one poem by Tolson in the book, and it is a powerful one. I didn’t use it for today’s Golden Shovel form today, but you can find it here.

Instead I read through twenty-some poems and chose the one by Thylias Moss. From wikipedia, I learned:

Thylias Moss (born February 27, 1954, in Cleveland, Ohio) is an American poet, writer, experimental filmmaker, sound artist and playwright of African-American, Native American, and European heritage. Her poetry has been published in a number of collections and anthologies, and she has also published essays, children’s books, and plays. She is the pioneer of Limited Fork Theory, a literary theory concerned with the limitations and capacity of human understanding of art. Since 1993, she has been a Professor of English and a Professor of Art and Design at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Moss was born Thylias Rebecca Brasier, in a working-class family in Ohio. Her father chose the name Thylias because he decided she needed a name that had not existed before. According to Moss, her first few years of life were happy, living with her family in the upstairs rooms of an older Jewish couple named Feldman (who Moss believes were Holocaust survivors). The Feldmans treated Moss like a grandchild.

When Moss was five, the Feldmans sold their house and moved away. Her parents continued to live in the house with the new homeowners and their 13-year-old daughter, Lytta, who began to baby-sit Moss after school. Moss experienced constant harassment from Lytta and several traumatic events before the age of nine. She later said about her trauma: “I never said a word of this to anybody….I was there witnessing things that only happened when I left that house.”

At age nine her family relocated, causing her to be sent to school in a predominantly white district. After enduring bullying and racism from both her peers and teachers, she withdrew from social interaction at school and did not speak freely in classes until many years later in college. It was during this time she gave more attention to writing poetry, an activity she had begun two years earlier.

48 Comments Add yours

  1. This is really a challenge… next step is the sestina… love all the aspects of honey you captured

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Bjorn, you’re very kind.

      Like

  2. calmkate says:

    wow two in one, you did it seamlessly and e’r so sweetly!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Kate. Glad you enjoyed them. I pieced it together like a Frankenstein’s monster 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. calmkate says:

        and you did it impressively Lisa!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I like what you’ve done here. The shovel, the original (thanks for introducing me) and the process. I’ve just been reading a piece on ‘assemblage’ where the poem, it’s context, it’s commentary etc are all parts of the creative fingerprint. The double meanings in your beginnings bracketed – has the effect of double reading. I read the line once and again without the brackets. It also slows the progress of the poem – so it becomes more meditative, more reflective – and the image of honey is exactly right – meaning slowly oozing down the page. Yum.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Oh my gosh, let’s put a red bow on your wonderful feedback. A gift truly appreciated, thank you. Didn’t realize this was an ‘assemblage’ and in the case of the original poem, it demanded the context of the poet. I would highly recommend the book this came from also as the introductions to the chapters are deep and abiding brilliance.
      Thank you again for what you saw with your eyes. Happy Holidays and Enjoy your lovely warm summer weather (while I shiver.) See you in 2021!

      Like

      1. Thanks so much – I’ll be kicking back watching ‘Its a wonderful life for the zillionth time, dreaming about air-conditioning and running about under the garden sprinkler in my undies. Just another Christmas really.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Glenn A. Buttkus says:

    Your poem is both complex and stunning. Your research and path to this poem is remarkable; kudos. Peter’s right that the form dictates reading, then re-reading many lines, and the poetics move slowly, like pouring honey, Very impressive job.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you very much, Glenn. You’re getting a good look of how my mind works with the format of the post.

      Like

  5. Grace says:

    This was quite a challenge to do so kudos for the results and process of writing them. I love the smell of burnished, fragrant honey.

    Thanks for being part of our team and poetry community. Happy Holidays to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you very much, Grace. ❤

      Like

  6. Lucy says:

    Wow, this is so beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Lucy.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sadje says:

    Very interesting poem Li. Love the life bio of Moss.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Glad you liked it, Sadje 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. (the)re is little for me to say
    (ex)cept Holy Shamoly, Lisa.

    -David

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      (Th)ank you, David. Been awhile since hearing that term.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m here to please 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I really love how you repeated the end word, as the first word of the next sentence. It is really an interesting read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Christine. That is the serpent’s tail form at work 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. memadtwo says:

    Thanks for all the history, along with your—well I don’t know how to describe the poem in one word, but I love the way it makes me really look at each word and phrase and think about the connections between the lines. And it sounds good too! (K)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Kerfe. It was experimental and using two different forms for the first time. Glad you enjoyed the sound of it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. rothpoetry says:

    A great poem Lisa. And I love the second poem as well. I lived in NC for forty years and many of those were in cotton country. So her image of a sea of cotton is very vivid in my mind.. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you very much, Dwight. She really brought that image to light in her poem.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I enjoyed seeing your path to this poem! I loved the image of the sun-crossed moon (who wouldn’t) and the use of parenthesis (how creative) I applaud you for combining two forms 👏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Happy to hear you enjoyed the offering, Tricia, thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Ingrid says:

    You really played with the idea of endings here, as if the poem was woven from the matrix of the bees’ dance. I really enjoyed your poem and the poem which inspired it! Thank you for sharing and Happy Holidays to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you for reading and your feedback, Ingrid, love seeing the poem with your eyes.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. kim881 says:

    Moss’s words cling so well to the edge of your honeyed golden shovel, Lisa! I love the stickiness of the lines:
    ‘Honey, swirled and cloudy, won’t;
    wont to ooze and cling to heart and wing, stick,
    stick(y), drippy cotton-candy paralysis, pre-fossilized to
    to(tal) unsolved resolution.’
    Thank you fo rthe background notes – your research into the forms was so thorough
    Happy Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Many thanks for reading and your kind comment, Kim.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. You built a real honeycomb here !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Ha! Jane I love it!

      Like

  16. Helen Dehner says:

    i am in total awe of what you have done ….. TOTAL (and on that note I will simply wish you a wonderful Holiday.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Helen! Wishing you Happy Holidays. See you in 2021!

      Like

  17. robtkistner says:

    Super response to Peter’s wonderful prompt Lisa. I am to return and read again. Hope you have a great holiday season, and look forward to reading more of your work in 2021.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Rob, thank you. Hope you do also, my friend, and ditto!

      Like

  18. -Eugenia says:

    Oh, you wove this piece beautifully, Lisa! Wishing you a joyous holiday season.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Eugi many thanks and to you as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Lona Gynt says:

    Lisa this is so great, I loved the movie, and am grateful for the introduction to Tolson as a poet, will have to look for more. Love you closing lines:
    “been seen with eyes to find new pieces that fit in
    (in)sistent grailic quests in mysteries. Eyes close to dream the
    (the)aters of tomorrow will sing with burnished, fragrant honey.”

    Oh if we can hold the bounty that comes from seeing and understanding and have that theater of compassion, holds and nourishes us together both. Tasty sweet thickness here. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      ❤ ❤ So glad you enjoyed the poem, Lona.

      Liked by 1 person

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