Thursday, April 17, 2014

Trying to Remember - Chris Hart

for the alone suffering from want of loneliness

What can possibly be more
pathetic pitiful
than sitting at a desk
pen pad paper
at the ready
wishing wailing wanting
to remember what it feels like to be
loved loving longing losing
your mind, becoming
sick slavering slaveminded
completely enthralled with ardent
desire dedication desperation
over some Athena Adonis Aphrodite
flawlessly featured face?

Yet here I am, with my pen,
No great trauma upon my mind,
Alarmed more by my content state
Than by any great bout of discontent,
Trapped in my temperance of emotion,
Wishing to know what it really means to
Suffer sweetly in the feverish
Grip of Love.

I want to preface any analysis of what I tried to do with this poem by stating that I am not depressed, not lonely, and not suffering from a chronic lack of love in my life.  I don't want anyone to think this is a cry for attention or help.  For me this poem is a meditation on how we treat love in poetry versus life.  I feel like it is easy to forget that so much of what we consume, be it poetry, tv, film, novels, are essentially dramatizations of real life.  I feel like we often expect our lives to mimic them in some way, when reality is often much more mundane.

I wonder how many people feel like I do, content in being single, but desirous of the passions of Love we read about in poetry or see in every day media.  It's a disembodied, unplaced emotion, and it can be occasionally unsettling, hence why I needed to write something.  The Keats I posted earlier in the year, he so suffers from his passions that he'd rather take a potion to forget them, and to banish Women from his mind.  I don't really feel that.  I never have, if I'm honest.  I'm not prone to fall for people quickly, and my emotions are rarely bombastic or overly passionate.  I like myself and like how I feel and experience the world for the most part, but I sometimes wonder what it must feel like to feel such Love that you'd try to move the heavens and Earth for need of it.  I am often alone, but seldom lonely, rarely driven mad by passions.  Is it pitiful to wish to experience that which so many others ardently express?  I don't know if pitiful is the right word, but my mode of expression is often self-deprecation (I blame Catholicism).  I think it's pretty natural to want to experience such things, and I suspect that a lot of the poems which are so passionate are greatly embellished for the sake of melodrama and poetic expression.

In the first stanza, I tried to capture the madness associated with passion with run-on thoughts, highly alliterative, as if the mind is hopping from idea to idea, in an almost free association sort of way.  It's a frenzy of thoughts, the mind so overwhelmed by the idea of being a slave to Love.  That idea of being "enthralled" is so present in so much Love poetry that I wanted to try to construct that by creating a narrator whose thoughts are jumbled.

I tried to make a sudden tone shift in the second stanza.  I re-introduced ordered thought, regular punctuation and capitalization at the start of each line, as if to show that the narrator has come to his senses.  He's not madly in love with Love, he's sitting at a desk trying to imagine what that is like.  I think it's an effective change, and I hope you agree with me.

I'm still unsure about the title and dedication at the start of the text.  This poem is not for lovers.  It's not for the lonely, either, because they suffer for lack of Love.  This is for the somewhat indifferent, the ones who wish they were more passionate than they are.  Alone and lonely are not synonyms, and I wanted to make that distinction.  The title, "Trying to Remember" is because I think at some level, we've all felt, even for a brief moment, some passionate spark.  I'm not convinced that's true, but I like to think that it is.

Is this a pitiful sentiment, or one you can relate to?  I'd really like to know.

1 comment:

  1. Firstly I would compliment you on your endeavour to bring poetry to our attention and greatly enjoy your choices. I read them aloud and then read and appreciate your analysis.
    You are quite right in distinguishing lonely from alone. It is a great gift to be able to enjoy one's own company. Both my wife and myself enjoy each others company but are also content to be on our own. There are a lot of lonely people out there or so we are told, which is sad. Meditation and the practice of calmness of mind and body might be the answer.