Saturday, August 28, 2010

Patriarchy

she said the dogs gave her no reprieve
she said, “they hunted me down, then stared and nibbled.”
and she could not understand that bag-like quietness
or why a witness walked past like he had something to wash.
she could not understand why the dogs nibbled when they could have chewed.
her mum tried to allay her angst by applying dragon balm.
(and this was the most decent thing anyone did, mind you)
her mum said, “Nothing happened: be grateful there was no chewing-shewing.”

Her uncle said, “Take responsibility for things.
Know that you are a kind of meaning, that you make yourself mean.
And don’t blame others!"
*
It was from about this time, she reckoned, that she learnt an altered language, one in which she was both subject and agent, with the responsibility to always engender her own damage. The dogs were peripheral, they came and went, but had no account and no debts to settle.

**

Explanatory note:

Forgive me a little. I do not hate dogs or uncles or mothers. This merely came about.

Incidentally, I've been reading some Metaphysical Poetry of late (by John Donne and Andrew Marvell). They're famous for a device called the "metaphysical conceit", which refers to an elaborate metaphor in which two incongruent things are likened:

“Love is a growing, or full constant light,
And his short minute, after noon, is night” (from A Lecture upon a Shadow)

Because these comparisons are unexpected, they sometimes have the effect of startling the reader into insight. But quite often, the comparisons are prolix: the details jar with the landscape and meaning is snuffed out. I think my attempt here jars a bit.

Maybe I'll persevere.

6 comments:

  1. Conceit, hyperbole and whatever: Devices that paralyse thoughts sometime. Alas! sometimes all thoughts are hyperbole!

    Joy always,
    Susan

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  2. :)
    Did I mention that I really like your photograph? You look two shades more colorful than color.

    Joy to you too.

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  3. This is actually pretty awesome. I mean, it could use more work- or maybe it couldn't, maybe this sort of thing would only work as it is, fully formed, and if it doesn't work it just doesn't- but the basic idea is pretty good.

    Have you been reading lots of feminist stuff recently?

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  4. It needs work. Some rhyming, maybe. And fewer words. Thanks for pointing that out.

    There's a brilliant anthology of feminist writing that I'm going to return to the lib sometime soon. So yes. :)

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  5. I don't know what you intended, but I love the way it moves seamlessly between prose and verse. Or so it seems to.
    Yours doesn't jar. It needs more meaning. I don't think I'm being very clear. Damn. I'll just tell you when I meet you.
    I can never even aspire to write like you.
    Quite obviously. I write like me.
    Ok. i'm rambling now. But I love everything about you. The way you write, the way you sing, the way you dance, the way you think. =)

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  6. Aditi,
    Thank you. I don't know what to say.

    But I must work on this poem. It's annoying me a bit. :|

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