Friday, November 13, 2009

East of the Sun

I often try to sing of penciled landscapes
where we two might meet.
My clumsy words hatching crumpled rocks
to top a barren line,
and in between their gaps, thick trunks I sketch,
to sprout bouquets
of vibrant green. But I give these trees too much
life, too much choice,
missing you, they pull up their roots and escape
the page to run

East of the sun,
And west of the moon,
We'll build a dream house
Of love, dear;

down mirrored corridors.
The future and familiar trade steely gaze,
as wooden crowds lead
in fruitful chase, pointing my not-belonging
eyes toward stainless pods;
squat glowing bellies lined with leather laps
where I could slip, nestle
and pillowed watch digits whirl backward,
dialing a piped-in lilt,
my lullaby to a past that trips its way

Near to the sun in the day,
Near to the moon at night;
We'll live in a lovely way dear,
Living on love and pale moonlight.

across black-and-white tiles. Instead I dodge
as I skip-dance through
dozens of mechanical players, lounging
above carved pieces,
hand-painted with perplexing stares. These
salt-and-pepper pawns
I grab and toss shoulder-ward, unsettling
over-recked games not fit
for the fancied fix I place on distant cracked
pedestal. Then, a stray

Just you and I, forever and a day;
Love will not die, we'll keep it that way.

among banqueted queues
of chattering guests, who ivory arrayed
wait beneath vaulted glass,
I see your finery's smile beyond them,
with pen poised atop
my hard-bound tale of tender leaves. The ink
on cream, once-written
you tear, so that together we can fold
papyrus sail boats
homeward pushed by a shared breath's slow unwind

Up among the stars we'll find
A harmony of life, too lovely, too.
East of the sun and west of the moon, dear,
East of the sun and west of the moon.

— Francis Scudellari

This is a poetic mashup with lyrics to the jazz standard "East of the Sun" as performed by Billie Holiday and written by Brooks Bowman (in italics)

7 comments:

Gerry Boyd said...

beautiful Francis. at first I found the line breaks a bit odd, but when read aloud (like I believe poems should be experienced), I found the rhythm and the poem. I also dug the sneaky economy of words: there's really not a syllable here that did not seem to belong. Plus the conflation with a jazz standard (that seems to play in the background) makes this a aural treat. I don't like to call out individual pieces of diction usually and there are so many here that this comment would become too boring to read. But props to you for sure.

Francis Scudellari said...

Thanks so much Gerry. I try to sound out the poem, at least in my head, if not spoken. I agree it makes a big difference. Someday I'll have to try to perform/record it just to see how it turns out. Using the actual musical samples might be an interesting touch.

PO Johnson said...

Francis,

These lines are amazing:

"eyes toward stainless pods;
squat glowing bellies lined with leather laps
where I could slip, nestle
and pillowed watch digits whirl backward,
dialing a piped-in lilt,
my lullaby to a past that trips its way"

Your poem has a great jazzy spontanity about it.

Jenny said...

Your stanzas dance and flow. Such an animated experience reading this. Thanks!

Akeith Walters said...

It does dance with an emotional impact. Very nice intertwining with the Holiday/Bowman lyrics

Francis Scudellari said...

PO, Jenny & Akeith... I'm glad the musicality of it came through.

Bluesfrau said...

"East of the sun,
And west of the moon,
We'll build a dream house
Of love, dear;"

That's beautiful! It touches in the heart region...
Maybe you can help me on... How can one become a participating poet here?