The Girl In The Poem

 

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I found this girl on the street a couple of weeks ago, right outside my building.

My initial instinct was to  walk past her, because I had no idea what she was.

Then I thought I should slow down, and at least look at her.

The next thought was: “I’ll never be able to lift her anyway. I bet she weighs a ton.”

Then I picked  her up, and carried her upstairs. A man in the elevator said, “What is that?” and I said, “I don’t know.”

I don’t understand “art” that well but because she is right next to my desk, I look at her more and more.

Tonight I thought:

I’ll never know her history.

And I’ll never know mine.

 

But then I thought, wait– Maybe I do know who she is.

She might be Yevtushenko’s Ksiusha.

 

 

Comments

  1. One of the best poems ever shared as this gives energy like the big paintings with or without abstraction..what aliveness. John celebrates like a monk in the grass who has just discovered the coffee bean.. earthy moving

    Giddy.

    Warmth.

    Good Day.

    • John Powell says:

      Caroline, your words stunned me, or, stung me with a sensation like a tiny little insect bite delivered by a mute, barely noticeable insect being who, with that barely-noticeable bite, was trying to urge me to quickly see a specific something in what you wrote.

      That specific something was as follows:

      Your description of me as “a monk in the grass who has just discovered the coffee bean”, appears to be derived from a sensing, in you, a clairvoyant sensing, which gave you subconscious knowledge about, and connection to, a period in my past.

      I was a monk. At the abbey where I resided with the other brothers, we genetated income for the abbey by operating a grass sod-laying business. Coffee was prohibited. We were not permitted to consume coffee at the abbey, or anywhere outside the abbey.

      And so, yes, it’s true, as you wrote, ” John celebrates like a monk in the grass who has just discovered the coffee bean.”

      John really has been that monk in the grass, literally, and has literally experienced discovering the coffee bean anew.

      I’m having difficulty convincing myself that your choice of words was only a random fluke.

      I think you sensed/received something about me, information about me, from a subconscious “plane”, or “wavelength”, or “collective mind”, or whatever one chooses to call it.

      The details in your mind’s and vocabulary’s painting of me are much too factually reproducing my past (and reflecting much about the monkish John who still comprises the man I am), for those details to be random flukes.

      Have you ever encountered this sort of report from anyone else before? Do you have an awareness of yourself being clairvoyant?

  2. John Powell says:

    At “You FELT it”, I began to cry.

    At “Giddily, happily”, I smiled and entered Shangri La. Its air and sensed mood saturations were made of your giddily, happily thrilled ecstasy.

    So much more to commune with, in all the pregnant struggles, pains, and clearings, at your “poetic plane”.

    My loss, being at distances preventing that communion.

    Please don’t disavow any pain, any clearing, or any struggle pregnant with change, gratitude, leaves, birds, trees, and skies.

    Please, atone only by vowing not to delete that “funny feeling”.

    There is where the “right to speak from” the “poetic plane” is bequeathed, to you, by you. One does not “earn” it. One inherits it from the absence of disavowal.

    To gain more, lose more.

    “Energetic silence.” You didn’t imagine it. Don’t disavow, no matter what. Know what you know, giddily, happily, always thrilled to. Always.

  3. John Powell says:

    Celia, I’d never read that poem before being directed to it by you, here. Thank you for that directing!

    The poem was riveting, immediately, at its opening moments, but it became emotionally painful (sharply striking and cutting my sense of empathy in the presence of tragedy) when I encountered the imagery created by the line which says:
    “Thus, our Ksiusha lay in her coffin.
    She held her hands clasped on her belly,
    as though she were gently protecting
    an infant in it…”

    Your impressions, here, of the combined sadness made touchable by your delicately-perceived connecting of the found sculpture with the poet’s Ksiusha, has, in some mysterious way (via some sort of mystical magical energies), brought the poem into an existence it lacked and could not have gained without you and your delicately-perceived, mystical, magical inner environment (the environment you’ve nurtured in your “spirit”).

    You have, here, brought into being an exquisite ethereal experience, for this reader, and for the girl in the poem, and for her presence in the sculpture, and for the poem itself and its poet.

    I feel sure that what you’ve felt from, and done with, all the elements described in your narrative above, and then brought here in this culmination of occurrences and senses, was somehow, on some mysterious wave of connected consciousness and connected happenstances, the completion and fulfillment of an emotional vision whose communication was desired by The Grand Quiet Universal Magician Of Delicate Empathy, herself.

    Thank you, for being her vessel.

    Words are not enough for delivering my gratitude, because no words can contain the awareness of the suffering you’ve endured to be that vessel. I “pray” that you will have quieted rest and relief from that suffering. I “pray” you will know that She wants you to have that, and know She is always beside you with open arms, for you to enter them, and become them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dear John,

      Thank you is such a seemingly “empty” word, how does one fill it back up with real gratitude, real GRATITUDE, like when creatures feel nobody, but nobody, can hear them, and they will never, ever be able to atone for the expressions that seem to be coming from a place of pain that society insists we disavow.

      I don’t, (compulsively) disavow that place that Transtromer called a “clearing in the woods that can be found only by somebody who has lost his way,” but each time I don’t, I feel that “funny feeling,” and you know I am famous for deleting things.

      I almost deleted this whole post!

      Understood on the poetic plane, these “failures” cease to exist and instead they become leaves, birds, trees, skies…life.

      Trying to “earn” that right to speak from that poetic plane seems to be a real struggle for me.

      And then YOU appear, and you say: “I heard it. I got it.”

      You FELT it.

      This, to my ear, masterpiece of Yevtushenko’s. But he is taking on…literary coldness, rejection, the paradox of the coldness even of the top poets of Russia. (Or here. or anywhere.)

      John….if you were ONLY there in the audience (wrote about it in earlier draft of this same post) at the one and only literary reading I did in 15 or more years, when I read this Yevtushenko poem that I love, so much, that I consider such a masterpiece.

      Energetic silence. Or did I imagine it?

      I limped home, embarrassed.

      Caroline spoke to me on the phone and talked me off the ledge.

      Today I owe my sanity, such as it is, to you. And to Caroline.

      I am SO THRILLED I found a fellow lover of this poem.

      Giddily, happily–

      Celia

      • John Powell says:

        At “You FELT it”, I began to cry.

        At “Giddily, happily”, I smiled and entered Shangri La. Its air and sensed mood saturations were made of your giddily, happily thrilled ecstasy.

        So much more to commune with, in all the pregnant struggles, pains, and clearings, at your “poetic plane”.

        My loss, being at distances preventing that communion.

        Please don’t disavow any pain, any clearing, or any struggle pregnant with change, gratitude, leaves, birds, trees, and skies.

        Please, atone only by vowing not to delete that “funny feeling”.

        There is where the “right to speak from” the “poetic plane” is bequeathed, to you, by you. One does not “earn” it. One inherits it from the absence of disavowal.

        To gain more, lose more.

        “Energetic silence.” You didn’t imagine it. Don’t disavow, no matter what. Know what you know, giddily, happily, always thrilled to. Always.

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