Monday, May 21, 2007

Admiration in the green

Two things from yesterday to correct: one, the green man is, more correctly, pagan, I think. I should look up more info on that. The first poem in To the Green Man talks about him/it as a folk figure, creature that straddles the human and natural worlds, etc. Good poem--but I have to get to bed--back late from Eavan Boland reading at the Folger.

But I still can't remember from what Medieval/Renaissance source I'm recalling the green man, or a man dressed in green as an image the devil takes, most often to seduce (intellectually) mortal man. At this point in my life, there's so much literature from so many periods stuffed in my brain, who can say?

Also, my own odd sorties into formalism have as one of their driving impulses some kind of fascination with puzzles--the poem generates as a series of formal impulses, or impulses that are clearest as formal gestures, but they're incomplete. So part of the pleasure is working out what the missing pieces are. It also feels sort of mathematical, which I find an odd impulse in a person whose father was a mechanical engineer, and which same person insisted throughout high school and college that she was completely uninterested in math. I'm still not interested in math. But if numbers are patterns and vice versa, then I guess I am interested in math.

One last thought: very interested in Jarman's "Butterflies Under Persimmon"-- esp. the psychology of the female character and the male speaker. I've been thinking about female/male psychology much of the day--how honest it is that woman are attracted to the act of being admired. I can't duplicate the indented lines in Blogger (tercets, with the middle line indented), but part of the poem runs:

She wanted to be studied
With that attention

To fascinate as if
She were another species,
Whose willingness to be

Looked at lovingly
Was her defense, to be
Like a phenomenon

Among leaves . . .

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