Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I haven't copied out a Milly Jourdain poem for you since May, mostly because I've been getting tired of poor Milly. She somehow hasn't seemed to suit my impatience and my worked-up energies; and even when I'm gloomy, I don't seem to get gloomy in the way she does. Altogether, for the past few months, I've been been anything but Milly's alter ego . . . which, I do understand, is hardly fair to her. One thing about literature: I'm always looking for myself in it--explanation number 1 for why I never became a scholar.

So, with an attempt at a fresh start with Milly, I offer you, forthwith, today's poem:


Milly Jourdain

Along the winding lane I often walk
Touching the trees--letting the grasses slip
Between my fingers. Seeing bluebells shine
Among the fading primroses. Beyond
The open fields sweet with the smell of spring
Look thro' the gate. And further far away
The fields and hedges lose themselves in mist
And yet it's all a dream. Each long day brings
The perfect images of vanished things.

There are many, many deft and lovely words, rhythms, and images in this brief poem, but the ending is terrible, so altogether it just adds to my confusion--not only about Milly's qualities as a poet but about the definition of poetry, the meaning of poetry--by which I don't mean "What's this poem about?" but "What does it mean to have expressed these feelings?" I don't, at all, want to write poems like this; but at the same time I want the eye that sees this world. Judging the value of a poem is so very confusing, and I am glad, once again, that I have resigned from the Beloit Poetry Journal's editorial board.

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