Saturday, November 14, 2009

TC: The Blue Dress


.



File:Schiele - Mädchen mit blauem Polster - 1913.jpg






I close my eyes

and see you at the age of 30

beyond the mist of affect

in your blue dress

so slim and Viennese

in the Sharons’ picture gallery

at Tissa’s party

a stormy night in 1974

with the ocean roaring

against the breakwater

I find you there with

all my projections

withdrawn at last

and what appears is

you in your blue dress

in this bewildering recurrent

intensified mind garden

I call creation

because you created it for me




File:Schiele - Stehendes Mädchen mit blauem Kleid und grünen Strümpfen - 1913.jpg




Girl with blue pillow: Egon Schiele, 1913
Standing girl with blue dress and green stockings: Egon Schiele, 1913

8 comments:

SarahA said...

I have been pondering over your words Thomas and the way you write.Although (at times) you don't 'rhyme', still there is that gently flow through your words.Here a prime example, I am thinking.I am thinking, this a very beautiful write and although memories seldom pay the bills; they will keep you warm one day.

TC said...

SarahA,

Well I would be inclined to do a bit of special pleading on behalf of the more liberal (do I mean "loose"?) term "rime" (or "ryme") if not of the more modern and strict "rhyme" on the grounds the former is a very old, perhaps obsolete word and I am a very old, perhaps obsolete person.

The word roots help us out a bit here. (Please excuse my incurable pedantry, you know me!)

The late Middle English word rime is derived from the Old Frankish language word rīm, a Germanic term meaning "series, sequence" attested in Old English (Old English rīm - "enumeration, series, numeral") and Old High German rīm, ultimately cognate to Old Irish rím, Greek ἀριθμός arithmos "number".

So it seems one may have a rime or ryme even when one does not have a strict rhyme, as long as one has a pattern or some kind (as I seem to have just made a loose rime but not a proper rhyme).

I have always loved the Ballad of Thomas Rymer, or "True Thomas", in which the Rymer, or poet, is taken away for seven years by a mysterious lady to a mysterious land where mysterious things happen but when he returns, Thomas cannot remember or explain where he's been, all he has to show for the seven year gap is some beautiful green velvet shoes. Not as wonderful as the blue dress perhaps, still probably more than any rymer has a right to expect in any place at any time.

English is the proper possession of the English and we recall that your countryman Mr Milton had no use for rhyme, he thought it a barbarian device:

"The Measure [of Paradise Lost, he meant] is English Heroic Verse without Rime, as that of Homer in Greek, and of Virgil in Latin; Rime being no necessary Adjunct or true Ornament of Poem or good Verse, in longer Works especially, but the Invention of a barbarous Age, to set off wretched matter and lame Meeter; grac't indeed since by the use of some famous modern Poets, carried away by Custom..."

Whereas Mr. Auden, an Englishman who lived much of his later life in this barbarian land, held a more tempered view:

"Rhymes, meters, stanza forms, etc., are like servants. If the master is fair enough to win their affection and firm enough to command their respect, the result is an orderly happy household. If he is too tyrannical, they give notice; if he lacks authority, they become slovenly, impertinent, drunk and dishonest."

(He should have said "she", but let us forgive him.)

So you see in short there is evidently a fine line one must tread in this matter of lines and rhymes and rimes and rymes and what not. Someday perhaps we will discuss this in another land, while wearing soft green velvet shoon (or slippers).

Memories meanwhile will indeed not pay the bills but yes, given a little space to breathe in, they may, like green velvet shoon, help keep one warm on a cold night like this one. Same as friends, in that respect.

Thomas

Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...

Rhyme?

All I see! is rhyme in these lines and pictures leafing —



with the ocean roaring

against the breakwater

I find you there with

all my projections

withdrawn at last

and what appears is

you in your blue dress

in this bewildering recurrent

intensified mind garden



( and warmth (and wisdom) has always been there, mostso now with "all my projections withdrawn". Just the honesty a poet fights for).


from a Vermont birdcall

TC said...

Bob,

Well, you know we all let our projections get in the way, so much of the time as we go about our busy little projects, slinking or bumbling along in the dark like night animals, waiting for interior vision to one day develop. Of course by the royal "we all" I am or anyway should be referring strictly to myself.

It's odd about those projections though. That bright clear Vermont bird call you've projected across the dark cold continental night has a warming and drying effect way out here so far from where it took off.

So even as one withdraws one's own projections or perhaps I should say especially then, maybe one can be thus just that small bit more open to what nature has projected for us.

Into my head comes the lyric, "The Creator has a master plan..."

That would be the project one would always hope to be projecting oneself into (assuming realistically one's "natural" state was probably on the outs with it).

But instead of dithering foolishly on about this, let me quote a paragraph from James Hillman that maybe points us helpfully toward some of the complications in the projection-withdrawing project.

"The specific technique by which the creative can be depotentiated in favor of the reflective is called, in analytical psychology, 'withdrawing projections.' The process is, of course, essential if ego-consciousness is to work through its transferences; but it is also the virtue that becomes a vice when the image is preferred to the person or the meaning is favored over the experience. Then reflection becomes tangled in the paranoid misapprehensions of the ego, which seeks to control the natural involvement in the world by an ambitious ideal of becoming 'objectively conscious' about it. Only if carried through radically can the objective withdrawal of projections prove its true value. First one must withdraw the primary projection upon the ego itself as the sole carrier of consciousness achieved through reflection.This leads to immersion in the projected field, surrendering to it in love, entering into it to such an extent that one becomes oneself a projection of the imaginal realm and one's ego becomes a fragment of a myth. Reflections may then occur just as spontaneously as projections, but they will no longer be an achievement of the will and the ego, which seek to *make* consciousness by withdrawing projection."

What holds me is: "...immersion in the projected field, surrendering to it in love, entering into it to such an extent that one becomes oneself a projection of the imaginal realm and one's ego becomes a fragment of a myth." This sounds a bit like our particular dream of paradise, no?

I guess you might say it was "a fragment of a myth" I was trying to project, here, in my hopeful little poetic semi-pseudo-projection-withdrawing project.

Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...

Tom,

I love meaning, but I don't want any of us to lose sight ever of the glorious moment. We were born into one. This poem in 1974 holds forth from such a moment, and we must trust what is right before our eyes.

Someone, the other day, actually warned me how I couldn't use the word "must" in my conversation or writing. I smiled aloud right on the spot and said to the heralder, "Go fly a kite; any kite."

I always like Hillman. He has that west coast switchback trail mind coming down from the mountains. A little further west until it actually becomes east, Thomas Cleary shares with us one of his grace translations from one of the Ancient ones —

"A human being has just one mind. Externally it is feeling, internally it is nature. Going along is consciousness, coming back is wisdom. Now if you want to reverse going along externally to come back internally, is it necessary to practice introspection? Introspection implies introversion and effort to perceive."

This is what your poem does. Right in broad daylight. And hopefully that's where we will continue to live.

Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SarahA said...

Thank you Thomas. See, I must get into the habit of reading follow up comments. Because when I do, I am taught much. I am filing your words away in my brain Thomas. Know that. Always. But I can not guarantee they will stay there though.My brain is a bugger of a sieve!

TC said...

Bob,

We're always coming down that switchback trail. When we're not climbing back up it.

______


And as to brains, I do understand, I have sprung a few holes in my own, SarahA. But the leakage at least leaves more room for other things to seep in. And then leak out.