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Friday, March 18, 2011

draft 1 Fast Day 198 March 18 2011 (Questions from an ICU Kid...)

Questions From A Kid in the ICU on Valentine's Day

"Father, why did God give us eyes?"

strewn like a quilt across her bed
were crayon'd classmates' Valentines;
his arm asleep beneath her head,
while monitoring vital signs.
He said, "So we can color and can play!
Go to gramma's on Summer Lake,
where we can see the Milky Way!
And count candles on your birthday cake!

Even though we stay outside...
allergies and gramma's dogs..." he sighed.

(O, Crayon robins! Paint carnations!
Color candle-songs with long wicks!
People... peonies of all nations!
Father's love bright pigments mix!)

"Daddy, I don't know exactly why...
God gave us eyes so we can cry."


final draft:

I do not know about this. It takes me a day or two of vacation away from being focused before I can read something again.  It was very tricky not to make it sound like something maudlin, like some of Thomas Hardy's ironic poems... he has one I have in mind which is a caution I try to stay away from. I still like Hardy.


Ben said...

This poem puts me in stead of a phantasmagoria. Fragments of memories, perhaps of a childhood gone. And in memories, one rarely relives the exact same scene...the mind is always jumping here and there, and wither will it go next?

"Father, why did God give us eyes?"

"Daddy, I don't know exactly why...
God gave us eyes so we can cry."

Those two verses, especially the last one, really stood out for me. It really put the gild on the poem to make it shine. From the font to the words...

The first sounds like an adult speaking perhaps. The latter, a child, and yet seemingly with greater wisdom or perception in life.

Ce fut merveilleux (I think that's how you say it).


Ben said...

Interesting how because I did not read the ICU part initially, my interpretation was entirely different. But when that context was added...

Oh the sadness just increases...and the father tries to speak of happy things, but the girl is no longer hopeful....


Montag said...

If you used to spend a lot of time hanging around hospitals and ICUs - which I have done at various time of my life - you sort of assume everyone knows what ICU means. I'll have to think about clarity.

The first quote starting "Father,..." does have a different tone to it, but I did not like "Daddy" at the beginning. It gave me that flavor of sentimentality that I mentioned about Hardy's poems which were published just before World War I.
Using "Father" makes it more like an intro to a prayer.

There are a few other thing I am not sure of, but I'll take care of those as time goes on.

I am glad to know that it works without seeming too sentimental. It is intended to rip, and to jerk one around with an irony of reversal from childish curiosity to child pain...
perhaps it is to delineate an experience of child abuse, something very prevalent in our culture: innocence and freedom changes to full painful engagement!

Sort of like the baby Oedipus asking the same question! How tragically ironical that would be!

Well, thanks. This has been fruitful. All the things we've mentioned here, I had not been aware of, so this will help me finish that poem.

Montag said...

I went back and looked at it and I know exactly what to do.
It will improve it greatly.