Friday (Finally) Musings

English Sonnet

London returns in damp, fragmented flurries
when I should be doing something else. A scrap
of song, a pink scarf, and I’m back to curries
and pub food, and long, wet walks without a map,
bouts of bronchitis, a case of the flu,
my halfhearted studies and brooding thoughts
and scanning faces in every bar for you.
Those months come down to moments or small plots,
like the bum on the Tube, enraged that no one spoke,
who raved and spat, the whole car thick with dread,
only to ask, won’t someone tell a joke?
and this mouse of a woman offered, What’s big and red
and sits in a corner?
A naughty bus.
Not funny, I know. But neither’s the story of us.

Chelsea Rathburn from Poetry February 2009
Another piece of information in the growing saga that is is the disappearance of the book:
In a move that could bolster the growing popularity of e-books, Google said Thursday that the 1.5 million public domain books it had scanned and made available free on PCs were now accessible on mobile devices like the iPhone and the T-Mobile G1.
This is the quote that closes the article: “Consumers will trade a certain amount of quality for convenience and cost,” said Michael Gartenberg, an independent technology analyst.
I’ve been following the blog chronicling the first 100 poems written for the first 100 days of the Obama Adminstration. After all the hoopla surrounding Elizabeth Alexander’s reading, I thought I’d take a stab at it. Alexander’s poem is accomplished. Mine is not. This is a first draft, and I wrote it last week. It isn’t supposed to be anything but a poem I tried to write (that’s my generic disclaimer).

The halls vibrate with shared voices.
Students crowd outside classrooms, looking
up from their iphones, tucking MP3 players
back into their pockets. Pressed together, they read
copies of the Indianapolis Star, spread open and held
by many hands, murmuring quotes and figures.

Pushing into class, they ask questions
about speech, poetry, and prayer. Across
the street, grown men emerge from the auto
labs to watch the televisions set up outside
the cafeteria. They returned to school for
promotions but just yesterday a Honda plant
closed in Greenwood and now these men
clutch class schedules in their hands wearily
reading descriptions about engineering, accounting,
and communications.

A woman stands in front of the largest T.V. Her
hair is a pure white cloud held in place with pins.
She is studying Spanish and often strolls the halls
of our department, a thick wooden walking stick
stomping out her arrival. Her eyes are still, caught
in a clear gaze, but her lips tremble as the cameras
pan out to the audience.

The audience all wrapped up in wool, cotton, and
down but underneath they speak Spanish, French,
and Afrikaans. They oil engines, they build bridges,
and they crunch numbers. This audience studies literature,
religion, and history. They sing hymns, pop songs, and opera.

This audience and this student are waiting,
waiting for his voice to come forward
and rise above the cold.

2 thoughts on “Friday (Finally) Musings

  1. one way to view the book versus pixel display of words is not the vehicle of capturing the words and getting them to the reader but the words themselves. One who can cleverly piece words together like yourself knows the true art is in the words and their collection and not perhaps the device that contain them 🙂

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