poetry critical

online poetry workshop

on the day we get married

"What is the divine? - It is the all."

After reading from Pindar the poet,
the priest clears his throat, speaks
forth our vows before an altar peopled
with idle saints stuffed on borrowed lust,
weighing our dreams' chances
as we start something new.  
They know it doesn’t matter whether
promises restrain chaos or profess happiness:
vows that lead where flesh
becomes text do not ensure against
the violence of kitsch and repetition.
So, you tattoo a ring on my finger,
bite off a scar in my breast,
the smile in your eyes stretches
and spills over this recorded coupling
of halves: the imprint of its arrival
carved in a contract of breaths.  
All day I've been trying to sign your name,
hand to married mouth, laying the giant letters
like swollen figs between
the raised arch of my breasts.                
All day your hand, as warm as the sea,
keeps moistening my dried lips.

8 Jul 07

Rated 9 (9) by 3 users.
Active (3): 8, 9, 10
Inactive (0):

(define the words in this poem)
(65 more poems by this author)

(1 user considers this poem a favorite)

Add A Comment:
Enter the following text to post as unknown: captcha


I've given this a ten. Need I say more?
 — erato

I would switch lines 1+ 2, I take it this is a mythical marriage? The words and images are lovely and striking, but a contextual framework seems to be missing. Your narrator sounds like a ghost. Try another word for "plump" in L 28. It doesn't quite fit with the overall tone.
 — banditfemme

Great work, Maria. I would suggest only that you've hit the over-modifer problem here and there. I don't presume to do any chopping myself, but this fine poem would be strengthened with a bit of blue-lining.
 — unknown

thank you, erato, banditfemme and unknown
Yes, this might be a bit over-modified, which is what happens often when I am not sure which word to go with so I put all the possible choices.  With time, things get clearer and I edit which I shall do now ... thank you for the suggestions

About the marriage - not a mythical marriage per se, though one I have not lived through yet.  I am sorry for the lack of a contextual framework, I did not want to provide too much of one for fear it will take over the poem.  I think Pindar is not contextualized well enough, or perhaps I should put as a footnote the quote of his that got me started thinking about this poem.  A ghost, perhaps, the narrator is very much alive (I see what you mean, will try to breath some live in her).  Plump - I love this word but maybe it does not fit at all.  Thanks, banditfemme, I will take very seriously your suggestions.  

 — slancho

very thoughtful revision, Maria. I meant to say that plump breasts sound erotic in a playful way. This doesn't strike me as a playful poem. Thank you for the Pindar reference. Bringing in the counterpart (we) was a good choice, I believe. Is the "they" (L 8) a reference to saints? Why is the lust borrowed? I find that opaque.

Line 12 is wonderful. It sums up brilliantly many marriages I know.
21-23: seductively magical

challenging and exciting poem
 — banditfemme

dear banditfemme,

thank you kindly for returning to this poem and for considering the revisions made.  I am glad you like the "we" in the title, I think it is a better choice indeed.  Also, the breasts were supposed to be seductively plump, thinking of figs and their softness, fullness ... but maybe it was one too many modifiers.  I may try to rework the last stanza so as to fit "plump" in there - it is a ravishing word to pronounce indeed.

Thank you for the specific reference to the second stanza, I was afraid people would find it abstract and preaching when it was simply by way of an observation, a caution perhaps.

Yes, those lines 12-23 - indeed seductively magical

The "they" in line 8 refers to the saints and their lust is borrowed because, in a physical sense, they do not experience it though, being there on the walls of a church, they are witnesses to lust of the relisious, emotional, even physical sense.  Maybe that  is not all that clear ... I will think on it some more

Thank you again for your comments, I am off to Uni now but will be back with comments on your work
 — slancho

   Would you consider moving the Pindar quote from the bottom to just under the title? Line 7 sounds rather prosaic, out of place in a poem filled with voluptuous, fresh images.
 — erato

erato, thank you for revisiting
I have moved the quote to the top (the reason I had not done it earlier is that I did not want it to set the entire tone of the poem but you might be right)

Line 7 - let me know if it bothers you that much that I would have to move it to make you pleased.  It is there because it is simple, because it says a lot with non-flowery words, because getting married is that, starting something new, and because dreams live in that something new as well.  That is what I was trying to communicate, though perhaps there is a better way to say it after all.  I shall ruminate over this one.
Thank you again for revisiting

 — slancho

Top Rated (expand)
Newest (expand)
Recently Commented (expand)
Recent Best (expand)