In the Fall 2019 Rattle, in one sense, the shortest poem has the biggest echo. It crosses the divide. Or maybe it joins what was once a divide and is no more.
For me, it’s personal, but the divide thingy works for any reader, I’m sure.
You see, I am part technology wizard, part Luddite. The Luddite half is chiefly comprised of a small pocket of emptiness. I do not own a cellphone. I do not want to own a cellphone. I cherish my un-cellphoned life known as the emptiness in my pocket.
As might be expected, sans the constant rings and texts, I have more time for the natural world. There is no interruption when I see a flight of American Painted Ladies (a type of butterfly that prefers flowers to circuses, thus avoiding Washington D.C.). There is no interruption when I walk the dog under a full moon on a black river of road passing the house. There is no interruption when I walk down to the pond and smell the damp earth and decay of leaves lining the shore.
No. None of that.
So, mistakenly, I divided poetry topics into natural and artificial (read: human-made). Foolish, really, as any dichotomy of black and white ignoring gray is bound to be. I mean, really. Nature poems vs. Human-centric (and often eccentric) poems, and never the twain shall meet?
Enter the shortest poem in the Fall 2019 Rattle. It was written by someone named Rolli, a sobriquet previously unknown to the likes of me. Monomynous people are either famous or ambitious for fame. Madonna. Cher. Sting. Prince. Beyoncé. Drake.
That’s a lot of singers, but there are writers with mononyms, too: Voltaire, Colette. Moliere. Rumi. Bashō.
But back to Rolli and twains meeting. Nature. Man. Natural. Unnatural. You be the judge:
Let Us Not Even Dream
for the stars are
in the palms of night
See what I mean? The cellphone gets equal billing with the stars (unnaturally enough). Unless, of course, you read it as a criticism of cellphones, in which case the twains are not only meeting but high-fiving each other.
I leave it to you, reader, as Rolli left it to me, the Last of the Mohicans (read: cellphone-less sorts with empty pockets and yes, that includes money).
3 thoughts on “Crossing a Divide”
“Palms of night”? A successful metaphor combines surprise with appropriateness. This goofy figure of speech is surprising all right, but the more I think of what night and palms share, the less appropriate it seems. It really harms such a short poem.
Interesting… not how I think of stars, but I’m of an older generation.
What I do like is the layout of the title and first two lines of the poem because it really does portray the total focus given as to how one should look at the dizzying night sky.
Guess I’m old school, too. A cellphone’s glow is the last comparison that comes to mind when I look up at night, especially with a new moon, especially with the Milky Way spilt across the sky, especially when I’m busy starting with Aquila, Cygnus, and Lyra.