If I see no end in is

May 28, 2008

an unknown future..who knows where it will lead usIf See No End In Is

 

What none knows is when, not if.

Now that your life nears its end

when you turn back what you see

is ruin. You think, It is a prison. No,

it is a vast resonating chamber in

which each thing you say or do is

new, but the same. What none knows is

how to change. Each plateau you reach, if

single, limited, only itself, in-

cludes traces of all the others, so that in the end

limitation frees you, there is no

end, if   you once see what is there to see.

 

You cannot see what is there to see

not when she whose love you failed is

standing next to you. Then, as if refusing the know-

ledge that life unseparated from her is death, as if

again scorning your refusals, she turns away. The end

achieved by the unappeased is burial within.

 

Familiar spirit, within whose care I grew, within

whose disappointment I twist, may we at last see

by what necessity the double-bind is in the end

the figure for human life, why what we love is

precluded always by something else we love, as if

each no we speak is yes, each yes no.

 

The prospect is mixed but elsewhere the forecast is no

better. The eyrie where you perch in

exhaustion has food and is out of the wind, if

cold. You feel old, young, old, young: you scan the sea

for movement, though the promise of sex or food is

the prospect that bewildered you to this end.

Something in you believes that it is not the end.

When you wake, sixth grade will start. The finite you know

you fear is infinite: even at eleven, what you love is

what you should not love, which endless bullies in-

tuit unerringly. The future will be different: you cannot see

the end. What none knows is when, not if.

 

 

White was relaying a message to the reader in this poem. Nobody knows when something will happen, or if something will happen. all that we know is that death is inevitable, and looking back, each plateu you reach you can’t change, but only work with as you reach it. the end is not there, once you see what there is to be seen. however, you are unable to see clearly when things fail you. i can relate to this in that when you are trying to reach a certain point in your life, and you are unsuccessful, the realization of your failure is staring at you in the face. it is something that can be accepted, but not very easily. the last stanza really stood out to me.

Something in you believes that it is not the end.” (…) ” The future will be different: you cannot see the end. What none knows is when, not if.”   when things come to an end, good or bad, you can not believe how fast they end. the fact that i am graduating is exactly like that. i can not believe it’s ending. and my future is unknown, and i can never see the end. questioning if something happens is not something i can do, because there are things that will happen, its just a matter of when. i think White is trying to relay that message. it is not a matter of if something will happen, it is the matter of waiting for it to come. once it does, was it worth it in the end?

 

Stepping Backward

May 20, 2008

Good-by to you whom I shall see tomorrow,
Next year and when I’m fifty; still good-by.
This is the leave we never really take.
If you were dead or gone to live in
China
The event might draw your stature in my mind.
I should be forced to look upon you whole
The way we look upon the things we lose.
We see each other daily and in segments;
Parting might make us meet anew, entire.

You asked me once, and I could give no answer,
How far dare we throw off the daily ruse,
Official treacheries of face and name,
Have out our true identity? I could hazard
An answer now, if you are asking still.
We are a small and lonely human race
Showing no sign of mastering solitude
Out on this stony planet that we farm.
The most that we can do for one another
Is let our blunders and our blind mischances
Argue a certain brusque abrupt compassion.
We might as well be truthful. I should say
They’re luckiest who know they’re not unique;
But only art or common interchange
Can teach that kindest truth. And even art
Can only hint at what disturbed a Melville
Or calmed a Mahler’s frenzy; you and I
Still look from separate windows every morning
Upon the same white daylight in the square.

And when we come into each other’s rooms
Once in awhile, encumbered and self-conscious,
We hover awkwardly about the threshold
And usually regret the visit later.
Perhaps the harshest fact is, only lovers–
And once in a while two with the grace of lovers–
Unlearn that clumsiness of rare intrusion
And let each other freely come and go.
Most of us shut too quickly into cupboards
The margin-scribbled books, the dried geranium,
The penny horoscope, letters never mailed.
The door may open, but the room is altered;
Not the same room we look from night and day.

It takes a late and slowly blooming wisdom
To learn that those we marked infallible
Are tragi-comic stumblers like ourselves.
The knowledge breeds reserve. We walk on tiptoe,
Demanding more than we know how to render.
Two-edged discovery hunts us finally down;
The human act will make us real again,
And then perhaps we come to know each other.

Let us return to imperfection’s school.
No longer wandering after Plato’s ghost,
Seeking the garden where all fruit is flawless,
We must at last renounce that ultimate blue
And take a walk in other kinds of weather.
The sourest apple makes its wry announcement
That imperfection has a certain tang.
Maybe we shouldn’t turn our pockets out
To the last crumb or lingering bit of fluff,
But all we can confess of what we are
Has in it the defeat of isolation–
If not our own, then someone’s, anyway.

So I come back to saying this good-by,
A sort of ceremony of my own,
This stepping backward for another glance.
Perhaps you’ll say we need no ceremony,
Because we know each other, crack and flaw,
Like two irregular stones that fit together.
Yet still good-by, because we live by inches
And only sometimes see the full dimension.
Your stature’s one I want to memorize–
Your whole level of being, to impose
On any other comers, man or woman.
I’d ask them that they carry what they are
With your particular bearing, as you wear
The flaws that make you both yourself and human.

 

this poem really made me think about the huge step i am about to take in the coming month, graudating from high school. i know it sounds very cliche, but the first stanza stood out to me. it’s saying good bye to people, even those you will see the next day and the days to follow. things come and go, but everytime you say goodbye it could very well be the last. so when we go to graduate in less than a month, we are going to be saying goodbye, most likely never to see a lot of the people we are so used to seeing every day again.

And when we come into each other’s rooms
Once in awhile, encumbered and self-conscious,
We hover awkwardly about the threshold
And usually regret the visit later.”  we can never go back to high school, and relive the way in which we went about our lives. it will never be the same, and if we try to relive it, it will never be accurate. “The door may open, but the room is altered; Not the same room we look from night and day.” We are constantly changing. and like it or not, we can never go back to the way we were.

The Imaginary Iceberg

May 4, 2008

 

iceberg

 

 

We’d rather have the iceberg than the ship,
although it meant the end of travel.
Although it stood stock-still like cloudy rock
and all the sea were moving marble.
We’d rather have the iceberg than the ship;
we’d rather own this breathing plain of snow
though the ship’s sails were laid upon the sea
as the snow lies undissolved upon the water.
O solemn, floating field,
are you aware an iceberg takes repose
with you, and when it wakes may pasture on your snows?

This is a scene a sailor’d give his eyes for.
The ship’s ignored. The iceberg rises
and sinks again; its glassy pinnacles
correct elliptics in the sky.
This is a scene where he who treads the boards
is artlessly rhetorical. The curtain
is light enough to rise on finest ropes
that airy twists of snow provide.
The wits of these white peaks
spar with the sun. Its weight the iceberg dares
upon a shifting stage and stands and stares.

The iceberg cuts its facets from within.
Like jewelry from a grave
it saves itself perpetually and adorns
only itself, perhaps the snows
which so surprise us lying on the sea.
Good-bye, we say, good-bye, the ship steers off
where waves give in to one another’s waves
and clouds run in a warmer sky.
Icebergs behoove the soul
(both being self-made from elements least visible)
to see them so: fleshed, fair, erected indivisible.

 

 

 

i think bishop is trying to say that we would rather have an iceberg than a ship, because an iceberg is not constant, and the outcome is unknown. where as when it comes to a ship, you know your definite location, and where it is going to end up. “Good-bye, we say, good-bye, the ship steers off
where waves give in to one another’s waves and clouds run in a warmer sky.
Icebergs behoove the soul (both being self-made from elements least visible) to see them so: fleshed, fair, erected indivisible.” bishop is having us say goodbye to the ship, and goodbye to the concrete ideal of life. she wants us to “live on an iceberg,” and live a life where not everything is clearly cut for you. what the iceberg is, and what it represents, changes from person to person. whats important is how you yourself define it

how would you define your iceberg?

 

\

 

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;

so many things seem filled with the intent

to be lost that their loss is no disaster

 

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster

of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

 

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:

places, and names, and where it was you meant

to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

 

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or

next-to-last, of three loved houses went.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

 

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,

some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.

I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

 

 –Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture

I love) I shan’t have lied.  It’s evident

the art of losing’s not too hard to master

though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster

 

when i first read this poem, i thought that bishop was talking about the general things you loose at time progresses.. the loss of a loved one, the loss of time, and just the general process of life. using that, i found that i was able to relate to this poem as a graduating senior, and realizing the whole idea of “loss of innocence.” i am no longer that young girl who went running to her parents at the sign of trouble, but i am able to take care of things on my own and be my own person. i have lost that innocence that comes with being a child, and am now (even legally so) an adult about to enter college. you move through life and people and things come and go, and sometimes when they’re over there is that missing of them, but it is not a disaster that comes from it. you move on through life, and things change. i think that is what bishop is trying to portray, that the importance is not when you lose things, its how you let it affect you and live your life.