Sunday, October 25, 2009





Runnin' for the Bus

I thought I'd better get here early, because it looks as if Dr. Einstein is one of those Demon Bus Drivers that don't know from schedules, just drive as fast as their wheels will take them. So okay, I won't post-date this post. Sheesh. Scientists. Always in a hurry.

TFE's Monday (sic) Poetry Bus
assignment was to write a poem while listening to a harrowing piece of music called "Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima" by Krzysztof Penderecki. (Please note that when I say "harrowing" that is not a criticism. The piece is riveting, which is good, right? but it's also harrowing. Not what I'd call Easy Listening.)

I've copied the YouTube video below, because I want to keep track of it. Meanwhile, here is what I wrote under its influence:

Aftermath

Hearts bursting, minds aflame,
we stumble through the rubble
of the world we knew before,
choking back our agony,
searching in vain for absolution,
finding only horror in our path.

Where are you, my darlings? Where are you?

The ghosts of those who died here
rise like a poisonous cloud before us,
hover, dark butterflies larger than the sky,
singed, moaning. Oh, the keening!
As too late we close our eyes and ears,
they shriek their accusation:

How could you? How could you?

Evermore, forever we will look
into our own children's eyes
and see these others looking back.
We will see their mouths gape open,
feel their terror and their pain, know
that whatever learned men may say,

It need not have come to this.

12 comments:

Wigeon said...

Hi Sandra, this is quite some piece and you're right about the music. Do you think it made a difference knowing the subject? This section:

Evermore, forever we will look
into our own children's eyes
and see these others looking back.
We will see their mouths gape open,
feel their terror and their pain, know
that whatever learned men may say,

It need not have come to this.

This is so powerful. Especially
'looking into our own children's eyes'
Superb.

Sandra Leigh said...

Thank you, Wigeon. Yes, I think it made a difference in that it gave the music a landscape and an historical backdrop. The emotional content and impact of the piece obviously comes through, though, regardless of time and place, as evidenced by the poems that were written without knowledge of the title.

I think it's time to stop drinking Americanos and go home. I'm beginning to pontificate. ;>)

AngelMay said...

The last line grabbed me, Sandra. The whole poem was really good and lead to that final, wonderful line.

John Hayes said...

I thought TFE's concept for the bus this week-- at least assuming one knew the title of the music--was practically impossible, but I think you've done very well. The personal aspect--the "looking into our own children's eyes" stanza seems absolutely crucial. You've been doing some marvelous writing--are you looking forward with some eagerness to the November novel writing?

Sandra Leigh said...

Angel May & John - thank you. And yes, John, I am looking forward to the NaNoWriMo project, although I am also very apprehensive. I have visions of sitting in front of my laptop, staring, staring, willing my fingers to type.......

Rachel Fox said...

The 'dark butterflies'...very good.
x

Titus said...

Very powerful piece of writing, as Wigeon says, the final seven lines are searing. Loved the inclusion of "learned".
Interesting to read a response to the music by someone who had the "landscape" - I think I'll listen again knowing what I do now.
Terribly difficult subject to write about, almost as if one artistic response then provides permission to tackle it. Far more interesting challenge than I first thought.
I was moved by this.

Sandra Leigh said...

Good morning, Rachel and Titus. Thank you. Rachel, I don't know where I got butterflies. Your seagulls made much more sense. I seem to have picked up the flapping of wings, but not connected it to the shriek.

Titus, yes. I don't know how I would have felt about the piece if I hadn't seen the title. Knowing it, I could never hear it without picturing Hiroshima.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Brilliant Sandra ,I think I had seagulls, i definitely had wasps/ locusts but yet the dark butterflies are so much more poetically apposite and disturbing.
Drink taken. nist go.Thangdsxye

Argent said...

Yes, dark butterflies is powerful since butterflies are creatures of sun and light usually. You caught the fell of this difficult piece really well. And NaNoWriNo too? I'm too chicken to try that this year.

Karen said...

This is very powerful, Sandra. I think I've picked out the same words as Wigeon:

"Evermore, forever we will look
into our own children's eyes
and see these others looking back.
We will see their mouths gape open,
feel their terror and their pain, know
that whatever learned men may say,

It need not have come to this."

Very, very powerful.

Sandra Leigh said...

TFE, Argent, Karen - thank you for your kind comments.

TFE - re the butterflies - really? I think I got the butterflies from the slow movement, but the wasps and seagulls other people heard were definitely there in the first part of the piece. I don't quite know why I didn't pick up on them. Instead, I identified the buzzing as (me?) frantically running helter-skelter through the ruins. When I saw the seagull/wasp references, I had an Aha! moment.

Argent, awwwww, come on! Misery loves company. Do come along for the ride. I'll buy you a cup of coffee and a goat cheese sandwich. ;>)

Karen, that music made every hair I own stand on end. I'm sure I must have been moaning while I sat there in The Vault, though I did manage not to weep openly. I hope they let me back in.

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