Thursday, October 08, 2009

East of the Sun

I often try to sing of penciled landscapes
where we two might meet.
My clumsy words hatching crumpled rocks
to top a barren line,
and in between their gaps, thick trunks I sketch,
to sprout bouquets
of vibrant green. But I give these trees too much
life, too much choice,
missing you, they pull up their roots and escape
the page to run

East of the sun,
And west of the moon,
We'll build a dream house
Of love, dear;

down mirrored corridors.
The future and familiar trade steely gaze,
as wooden crowds lead
in fruitful chase, pointing my not-belonging
eyes toward stainless pods;
squat glowing bellies lined with leather laps
where I could slip, nestle
and pillowed watch digits whirl backward,
dialing a piped-in lilt,
my lullaby to a past that trips its way

Near to the sun in the day,
Near to the moon at night;
We'll live in a lovely way dear,
Living on love and pale moonlight.

across black-and-white tiles. Instead I dodge
as I skip-dance through
dozens of mechanical players, lounging
above carved pieces,
hand-painted with perplexing stares. These
salt-and-pepper pawns
I grab and toss shoulder-ward, unsettling
over-recked games not fit
for the fancied fix I place on distant cracked
pedestal. Then, a stray

Just you and I, forever and a day;
Love will not die, we'll keep it that way.

among banqueted queues
of chattering guests, who ivory arrayed
wait beneath vaulted glass,
I see your finery's smile beyond them,
with pen poised atop
my hard-bound tale of tender leaves. The ink
on cream, once-written
you tear, so that together we can fold
papyrus sail boats
homeward pushed by a shared breath's slow unwind

Up among the stars we'll find
A harmony of life, too lovely, too.
East of the sun and west of the moon, dear,
East of the sun and west of the moon.

Francis Scudellari

This poem is written in response to Read Write Prompt #95: The poetics of the mash-up, by celebrity poet Matthew Hittinger at Read Write Poem. Of the suggested mash-up techniques, I chose to mix a poem I was working on with the lyrics from a song.

The poem takes as its inspiration an actual dream sequence I had, which was a bit of a mash-up in itself. There was some very sudden scene-shifting, and it included a piped-in recording of "East of the Sun" as sung by Billie Holiday (and those are the lyrics interjected here). I tried my best to make the dreamy bits a lot more coherent, while preserving the metaphorical quality of the experience.

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