Sunday, January 8, 2012

that greeny flower

i spent a couple of hours with william carlos williams' poem "asphodel, that greeny flower" this morning (one hour of this study time was during church this morning, testimony meeting, which my hilarious daughter lovingly calls 'open mic night.')

it's a beautiful confessional love poem, about gardens, love, forgiveness, death, the sea, hell, and the way in which the atom bomb changed love, forgiveness, and the poetic line forever.

"I bring you/ a last flower. Don't think// that because I say this/ in a poem/ it can be treated lightly// or that the facts will not uphold it./ Are not facts flowers/ and flowers facts// or poems flowers/ or all works of the imagination,/ interchangeable?"

williams asks his wife's forgiveness for his infidelity and his inattention to her because of the time he spent living two lives crammed into one. you want to think he's a d-bag (he's always asking forgiveness--remember the plums? i always thought the speaker in that poem was a little d-baggy), but he manages to come across as so honest and vulnerable and broken that we forgive him, and in the end, she forgives him, too. he writes from the winter time, but imagines spring, and her forgiveness enables a sort of new flowering, albeit by a pale and odorless flower, for williams at the end of his life.

"after a lifetime,/ it is as if// a sweet-scented flower/ were poised/ and for me did open."

this took me to new years, the snow outside, a very faint glimmer of spring at the edges of my imagination. i always go through the same process at new year's time:

1) i vow to not make any resolutions
2) then i vow to only make one resolution
3) then i vow to make only three resolutions
4) then i make a whole complicated list
5) the next year i realize that i sort of did one or two things on the list
6) i repeat the process, often including some of the resolutions that i've made year after year and not even been moderately successful in keeping


here's my long and unwieldy list, which i probably won't keep, but is at least an expression of intent:


this year i did less music than in almost any year of my life. sad. maybe that's why i feel empty? thus i want to:

*take voice lessons
*sing in church choir
*rehearse once a week with lalage
*start a youtube channel for lalage


i have a chapbook and two complete manuscripts of poems pretty much ready to go, but lacked the wherewithal to send to publishers, etc. last year. am toying with the idea of publishing them under christian's record label, and circumventing the vast amount of time and money it takes to get a "real" publisher to put them out (i spent two years and probably 1500 bucks on submission fees and mailing fees getting Alburnum published). would love to hear other poets' thoughts. i know it totally de-legitimizes your work to self-publish in the eyes of certain people, but if you look carefully, it's pretty much a racket. and hey, william blake did it.

but, as i've said before on my other blog, one of my rules is no work on publication unless i'm spending a certain amount of time writing.

*continue daily poetic practice
*publish a physic at the table--chapbook
*publish gentian weaves her fringes--full length book
*revise and send out four windows with flamboyant tracery--full length book


*get outside more (this is one i make every year and NEVER do. i can't explain my aversion to the outdoors. could it be agoraphobia?)
*continue yoga practice
*drink more water
*limit screen time


two screenplays i want to write, and i'll just give their code names below in case someone decides to steal my amazing ideas and make millions off of them.



*judge less (another every year res--i think i got a little better on this one this year, even if only i can tell)
*pay attention more

i really, really love new year's resolutions, i have to say. i have a penchant for starting over. my therapist once told me, "you're good at beginnings. we have to figure out how to make the middles more fun for you."

a good thought. i'm working on it.

but i figure it's totally legit to start over again in january, so here i am.

where are you?

p.s. legwear: leopard tights. and i wore my new pearl colored h&m dress. i spotted women at church wearing: black tights, grey woolen tights, blue striped tights, houndstooth tights. it's tights season here in utah. i spotted younger girls in red tights, mustard tights, sparkly tights, black tights and white tights. it's a festival of legwear.


  1. I love your list--and am intrigued by your screenplays.

    I am still on my tiny moments idea--second stanza. At minimum:

    1. 3 minutes of singing every day
    2. 3 minutes of journal every day
    3. 3 minutes of prayer every day

    Every day.

  2. lovely and succinct. see, i've been trying to simplify like an asplund, but keep complicating like a candland.

  3. Ah but my dear, your poetry. The magnificent opulence of it. I love it so!