Sunday, July 27, 2008

The sick rose.


In my creative writing class one day, I had a phys-ed instructor who happened to be a scribbler.
I had made up some assignment about writing about a flower (hell, better than a brick wall) and he got right into it.

"I knelt down to smell the flower, got down to 'flower-sniffing position', and making sure that I was in a safe mode, I smelled it. It was a rose. It's value was intrinsic.

Omigod. Trying to teach Super Dave to write about sniffing flowers. And what the hell was so intrinsic about the value of a rose? I was probably missing something. The real old Super Dave would have thrown me a curve. The rose would have exploded or something.

But maybe I did miss his point. Maybe should have listened mor carefully once past the jock talk?
Maybe a broken heart. Jocks get them too.

A poem by Blake is on so many levels that even a jock would get it.

O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm.
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

Wow. Talk about levels. Sick rose. Sick you. Something eating away at you. Perhaps your spouse's lover, or the cancer; who knows. And his dark, secret love
Does thy life destroy.

At least three levels, but the rose image is kaleidoscopic, and there are many, many more levels.
William Blake. Dang that mad, wonderful lithographer! Genius at descibing some relationships.
"And every day, as he grows weaker
"She grows stronger." And he illustrates it all with a nude man and woman, on their knees, tied back to back..
Cookie monster, that Blake.

Well, thank God I am not wound -up or talented enought to be a William Blake.
My wife did once tell me though, "If I cranked you up a notch or two, you'd be Sylvia Plath."
And here am I with an electric oven. What woud be the point?
We all get so precious, so high strung when we are young poets.
Reflecting on roses, we step into potholes.
And a passiing Yahoo may well push our face all the way down to the mud.
Nietzsche says our noses are pushed down into reality, into the nitty gritty. For nature does not allow the impractical dreamer or esthete to live long, or even reproduce. Nature is red in tooth and claw, and the pteradactyl is still up there, whether in the shape of a Pterosaur or a Boeing 727. Or a wild-eyed bomb thrower.

Old kingston Trio song:
What nature will not do to us.
Will be done to us by our fellow man.

All those therapists out of the nineties. Relax. Stop being so anxious. Have a good time. Nothing is out there to get ya. It's just evolutionary reflex. The Pteradactyl is gone.
Ha.
It's got four engines and a bag of box cutters.
And what fear will not do to us.
Will be done by Homeland Security.
Keep 'em scared. Keep 'em meek with images of Abu Graib.

George Orwell was an optimist.
Oh our dear totalitarian time.
And I don't think even Obama is getting it.
They did a sales job on him over in Afghanistan, and he seems to have taken hook, line and sinker.
And instead of recommending an immediate pullout out of Iraq, ( All the soldiers, and all theU.S. puppets and their families carted of by C-5's yesterday) he wants to do a lateral arabesque and shift all the manpower to Afghanistan, where drug dealers and pipeline contractors are about as plentiful and as dangerous as they are here in Ontario.
Protect the drugs and pipes.
Oh Barrak.
You talk to the generals, of course they will do a sales job on you.
Talk to the people. But you can't get to the people.
You talk to Karzai. Why does Karzai somehow sound like CIA?
'Cause he is.
The Afghan rose might well be a poppy.
And it is sick.
Drooping and bleeding.
From a wound that will just not heal.

22 comments:

Jo said...

Obama did a flip/flop?

Noooo.

*heh*

A rose by any other name? As long as it gets the vote.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

I think that's a "gotcha", Josie. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Wow, great analysis of Blake's poem. Makes me look at you a little suspiciously, however. Maybe you're on of them arty types?

That is a great poem, though. Hey, you know I actually was in a poetry anthology with Blake? Of course, he'd been dead a while. But I still count it. Twas called "The Bible of Hell."

Middle Ditch said...

I do love reading your posts, even though I don't always understand what you are on bout.

You are fantastically lyrical with your word play.

Jo said...

Ivan, yup, that's a "gotcha". It's also an "I told ya so". And I didn't even have to wait until he was elected.

I wish I could help you with your pictures Ivan. I think I could figure it out pretty quickly!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Charles,

I can see why you sci- fi types can be turned on by Blake.

From the Book of Urizen:

Lo, a shadow of horror is risen
In Eternity! Unknown, unprolific,
Self-clos'd, all-repelling: what demon
Hath form'd this abominable void,
This soul-shudd'ring vacuum? Some said
"It is Urizen." But unknown, abstracted,
Brooding, secret, the dark power hid.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Josie,

Thanks. I am so frustrated by my corrupted picture file.
Also the dentist.
Once I get into better frame of mind, (after today's root canal), I would cerainly love to get together with you about my partly vanished picture file on Blogger.
I think it's a matter of getting into the right box from "tools" and then transferring over, but it won't transfer from my own computer to the picture file on Blogger. Says it's a different system, and it won't go.
Funny about Obama. I think he really did a flip-flop, but all the journalists missed it, includig those in France and Germany.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Monique,

That's so British

"What are you going on about?" :)

ea said...

Interesting post, Ivan!

Google the number "153."

~Liz

Lana Gramlich said...

The scary thing is how clear it is that Orwell certainly WAS an optimist. Hindsight is 20/20. Damned hindsight.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Dunno, Liz.

I'm still sort of chuckling at the imagage of some kilted slave
walking round and round on a leash trying to figure out pi for the pharaoh.

http://www.creativewriting.ca said...

Lana,

Dystopia. We seem to be in one. I just checked the stock market today. Yikes!

JR's Thumbprints said...

You're definitely singing songs of experience. Now if we could only revert back to our childhoods and have that damn rose squirting water in someone's face.

Ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Yep.

A rose named Blanche suddenly whispered "Avalanche!"

the walking man said...

Seeing as there are only two "roses" in this garden and there is no safe mode I suppose that we are now committed to the future. A future no amount of Abu Garib pictures can stop us from. Evil? *shrug* Just different.

H.E.Eigler said...

I also enjoyed your poem analysis and it is a multi level item isn't it? How've ya been Prof?

Ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Yes mark. I'm tryong to remember the Joni Mitchell line abut America in the Vietnam period.

And so, once again
My dear Johnny, my dear friend
Once again, you are fighting us all..

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Heather,

Aw, you got me on the old soft spot.
Thanks for reading.

H.E.Eigler said...

You're welcome, I may not comment lots but I still come by and visit when I can. I hope you've been doing well.

http://www.creaivewritng.ca said...

Old chassis starting to rock a bit, probably becaue of the dentist.
But I'm getting stuff in the papers and my peers are talking to me again.

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