Archives for posts with tag: nostalgia
Mulberry Street NYC c1900 LOC 3g04637u edit

Mulberry Street NYC, c. 1900. Image courtesy of the United States Library of Congress via Wikimedia Commons.

It’s been a year,
Yet your presence lingers
in strangers who cross

the road towards me.

In a quest to educate myself and use my time more constructively I’ve scheduled reading before bedtime. In addition to poet and writer Salena Godden’s memoir, Springfield Road, and Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow, I’ve been reading two or three Chinese poems (in translation).

In the windfall month when I bought Bukowski’s Pleasures of the Damned, I also picked up an anthology of Classical Chinese Poetry translated by renowned scholar David Hinton. It’s taken me nearly a year and a half to delve into my indulgence.

One of the great amusements of some of these poems is the scene-setting provided by the titles. Consider for example:

“On the Summit above Tranquil-Joy Temple” (p. 409)
“On a Boat Crossing Hsieh Lake” (p. 414)
“Written on a Wall at Halfway-Mountain Monastery” (p. 355)
“At Truth-Expanse Monastery, In the Dharma-Master’s West Library” (p. 224)
“Staying Overnigh in Hsü’s Library. Hsieh Shih-Hou and I are Driven Crazy by Rats” (p. 341)

The titles are not all about libraries and monasteries –

“8th Month, 9th Sun: Getting Up in the Morning, I Go Out to the Latrine and Find Crows Feeding on the Maggots There” (p. 340)

I derive great pleasure from imagining the suggested location and atmosphere for the unfolding poem. It’s like reading directions in a script or screenplay. I’ve used a similar device before in my poems (see “118A Creighton Avenue” and “St Paul’s, Covent Garden“), but it’s a comfort to know the greats did it, too. Today’s title unashamedly proposes the verse’s location.

(For interest, my poem “Postmarked from a Café” nods to Bukowski.)

Reference:
David Hinton (editor and translator), 2008, Classical Chinese Poetry: An Anthology, (Farrar, Straus and Giroux: New York).

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

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Don’t waste the joy of new places on absent sources of heartache. Don’t Waste Paris on a Broken Heart.

A letter is…

The soda needs fountain; 
the lolli needs pop. 
Pink milk goes for shake;
red counters seek top.

On jukeboxes rave
and motors rev bike.
Heat moves towards wave,
while cream swirls for ice.

Young leather struts jackets,
then shy ankles flash socks.
The point brings us to make-out
where our lips search for lock.


Clearly winter charges in me thoughts of a fantasy ’50s summer. Daily lunchtime bowls of vegetable soup bring me to pink milkshakes and red counter-top diners.

Thank goodness for the yields of internet research. My googling provided insights into everything from 1950’s teen fashion trends to the song hit ‘Rave On’, from retro diner-menus to make-out habits of the day.

The internet and imaginative nostalgia seems to be an apt pairing, too.

In my books, you will find more poems tinged with nostalgia. Click on each title for a preview:
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill

Yonder far o’er vale and glen
whereto grooms return
and bread is leaven.
This is another country.

Today, outside, is a new room
in which five builders,
tiered upon scaffolding,
cannot hear All Blues.

This is no time 
for saxophone wails.
Stand at the window
and look out

on the fresh planks.
The backdrop:
bared trees and
blue-skied bright.


All Blues” is a track from the Miles Davis album Kind of Blue (1959).

The books, available for preview:
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys 
Shining in Brightness

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill