Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Friday, November 07, 2008

And Now For Some Poetry

I’m really a prose guy. But once in a while, I do come across a poem or two, and bam! Often my reaction is an “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh…”, delayed. But when a poem creeps under my skin, my initial reaction is followed by “wow”.

And suddenly all is right in the world.

The first one is a poem that Leigh read out loud during her talk “Approaching advertising through poetry” for Raw School last night (it’s really just her excuse to turn on young creatives of ad agencies into poetry). I dedicate it to all those holier-than-thou’s who look down on me whenever I mention that sex without love is fun.

“Sex Without Love” by Sharon Olds

How do they do it, the ones who make love
without love? Beautiful as dancers,
gliding over each other like ice-skaters
over the ice, fingers hooked
inside each other’s bodies, faces
red as steak, wine, wet as the
children at birth whose mothers are going to
give them away. How do they come to the
come to the come to the God come to the
still waters, and not love
the one who came there with them, light
rising slowly as steam off their joined
skin? These are the true religious,
the purists, the pros, the ones who will not
accept a false Messiah, love the
priest instead of the God. They do not
mistake the lover for their own pleasure,
they are like great runners: they know they are alone
with the road surface, the cold, the wind,
the fit of their shoes, their over-all cardio-
vascular health—just factors, like the partner
in the bed, and not the truth, which is the
single body alone in the universe
against its own best time.


Then again, there are times (more often than not) when I just don’t get it on first and second reading; that’s when I turn to Leigh for help. The following poem I stumbled upon while flipping through one of Leigh’s hefty poetry anthology books. It was short, so I read it. And I didn’t get it.

“Luck” by Langston Hughes

Sometimes a crumb falls
From the tables of joy,
Sometimes a bone
Is flung.

To some people
Love is given,
To others
Only heaven.


I had to ask Leigh what it meant before I could grasp—feebly, if I may add—what the poet was trying to say. (Sigh. How embarrassing.)

3 comments:

dalumat said...

so what was it trying to say?

J said...

Basa ka rin ng mga gawa ni Szymborska

joelmcvie said...

@DALUMAT: Which poem are you referring to? Both? I'll explain it/them to you in person.