Saturday, January 8, 2011

Arachnid Dreams

How I wish that in the space of one
night’s darkness I could weave a spiral galaxy of silk
designed by my ancestors
and mysteriously bestowed to me from some deep

time before time. I would doze in the morning sun,
amid my particular array of glistening dewdrops
and—rocked by soft morning breezes,
and at the edge of sleep—

snooze until some flighty insect blunders into my gossamer-spun
dream. Waking, I would swaddle my breakfast in silky attention
wrapping and comforting this trembling body before sipping
guts gently inside me and swallowing them deep

the better to digest heedlessness into filaments
that I can string in the sun to be jeweled with dew.

—Dan Gurney

  Arachnid Dreams by Dan Gurney 


The Pollinatrix said...

Glorious! This is now one of my favorite poems you've ever posted.

Dan Gurney said...

Thank you, Polli! I'm really glad you enjoyed it. I enjoyed writing it.

steven said...

yow! rhymes with wow and includes yes! this is a jewel in the jewelled web of your writing dan. hearing it read also opens another door into the poem as your emphasis and organization changes the words dramatcially and gently at the same time. thanks for all of this! steven

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, steven--thank you! A compliment from you means a lot to me, as you're among my very most favorite poets online. I got the idea to try posting a recording online from seeing your Soundcloud recording the other day right after seeing my brother, Jim, doing it. Turns out it's pretty easy to do. Ruth Mowry gave me the idea of adding a recording to the written word in a blog post, and I've come to feel poetry, like music, should be heard as well as read. Maybe you'll record your poetry??

neighbor said...

oh, this is nice! I love the image of the spider's care, the joy of spiderness, the rightness of being sleepy-morning-centered on dew and threads.

From the beginning, I was ensnared. :)

It was a pleasure to hear you read it too.

Sabio Lantz said...

"swaddle my breakfast in silky attention" <--- nice (loved that). I loved the viscous truth.

Now, may I sacrilegiously commit the unforgivable sin and offer edits to your fine poem:

(1) wrapping and comforting HER trembling body
(2) before sipping HER WONDERFUL guts

Very nice poem -- masterful, sick, rich, real !

Funny, I've never offered an edit to a poem -- I am not much of a poem person. I'm probably a poetry buffoon, actually. But as I read this, I felt that staying within your style and your intent, those edits may fit. Then I thought, "Wow, we can offer edits or our thoughts to an essay, but is a poem the song of the gods and thus immune to correction. Is it like the psalms -- the word of God?" Funny, I felt the resistance myself. Wow, does that say something about the human mind? About poetry? About language?

Well, anyway, if any place would be safe, fun and interesting to explore this sacrilegious venture I thought it would be your blog. Hope it is OK.
Again, fantastic poem and hearing your voice was wonderful == do you sing when you play ukulele too -- do you have recordings on that too. Unfortunately WordPress won't allow recordings (sniffle)

Kathryn Magendie said...

*smiling* - . . .

Dan Gurney said...

Thank you Neighbor! Again, you're among the best poets I know (who isn't already famous as a poet) and if I'm able to compose something that you enjoy I'm both pleased and greatly encouraged. The thing about poetry for me is it seems to come through me more of its own volition. If I sit down with the intention of writing a poem I get blocked. There you go.

Dan Gurney said...

Sabio, I'm so glad you're here. I enjoyed your comment very much. Thank you for venturing a suggestion. I laughed because it's almost as if you read an earlier draft where the insect was sexed. When I read it to my wife, she suggested that I degender it. Sorry, Sabio, but I'm going with the former Mayor on the one. As for wonderful, I actually thought of glorioius there but thought the alliteration would be just too much. And generally I tend to weed out judgmental words in poetry.

But please, you have found the right place to offer suggestions. As a writer I'm verrrry open to suggestions from readers. I guess you could say as writers go, I'm thick skinned——though I don't have an exoskeleton.

Everyone seems to like hearing the voice, so I'll continue to make the extra effort, which is not much, to include a recording of poems. Some day when I've got nothing to do and all day to do it in I may GO BACK and record previous poems. But that won't happen soon.

Do I sing? Oh, yes, I sing. God, I love to sing! Got that from growing up in a Christian family, and I'm very grateful for that gift.

Finally, geez, Sabio, you're making my blog like yours: more comments than post.

Thanks, though, I like blogs like that.

Dan Gurney said...

Kathryn, thank you for visiting and leaving a comment. I see you're among the writers of Rose and Thorn. And a novelist, too. Welcome to Mindful Heart. I hope to get to know you better.

Dan Gurney said...

Sabio, I wanted to say one more thing about the questions you raised in regard to the resistance to offer unsolicited edits for people's poems.

I think it does say something about poetry and the human mind, but I don't pretend to comprehend what it is. But poetry resists this energy.

I have the same reluctance to edit. I guess it's because we know (or at least we feel we can safely assume) that the poet has carefully attended to EVERY word that appears in his/her poem. Because we know care has already been taken, we feel some reluctance to proffer suggestions.

I've ventured to commit the unpardonable sin of suggesting edits to poems I didn't write. Only with the poets I know well enough to try. So far, they've not been too offended. I'll share an example from my poet friend, Sandy Eastoak, who wrote a poem in response to my remarks about one of her poems.

The best way to respond to another person's poem that you feel requires some sort of elaborated response is to write your own poem. The Japanese have a whole tradition of that with Renga. And you did it for me with your Etheree the other day. I felt honored, truly.

And give yourself credit: your Etheree was great. You're no buffoon, Sabio.

Dan Gurney said...

"I'll share an example from my poet friend, Sandy Eastoak, who wrote a poem in response to my remarks about one of her poems." Not today, but soon.

Sabio Lantz said...

Cool, glad you took that well - and even playfully.

I even thought of:
(2) before sipping her succulent guts
Maybe a little less "judgmental"
Thanx for revealing the artists workshop!

PS -- you keep your comment count up by making each of your replies a separate comment. I often just say "@ so-and-so" and string replies together in one long comment. You are a sneaky fellow!

Dan Gurney said...

I like succulent. I don't usually batch replies because I wish to honor each comment with its own comment back from me. More respectful than sneaky. Sometimes I do batch comments, though, particularly when I reply to very short comments.

neighbor said...

Dan, you've often honored me with that praise - I hope to continually earn it. As with you, "The thing about it seems to come through me more of its own volition. If I sit down with the intention of writing a poem I get blocked." ... I'm still trying to figure out how to welcome it and have it arrive more often...

Paul C said...

I really enjoy this poem....and that last line is truly exhilarating; captures the beauty of nature and existence so well.

Dan Gurney said...

Nieghbor, me too! Meditation helps open the portal, but it's not quite as simple as that. Being in nature really helps, too. And staying away from corporate entertainments. There's three ideas.

Dan Gurney said...

Thank you, Paul. Right now it's my favorite poem of all time among those that found me to be the scribe. When the last line appeared on the page, I was pleased, very pleased with it.

neighbor said...

Well, I'm good on the corporate entertainment front - though I do have netflix and watch movies periodically. I haven't noticed that it's as soul-sucking as tv.

being in nature - something I'm trying to do more, though I find this big valley lacking (I have to drive to get anywhere, a deterrent) - but I'm walking to the nearby pond and the creek more often - both locations are pretty modified, but they count. This has to be the biggest poetry generator for me - I usually feel that poetry is 99% the earth and 1% me.

And the meditation - well I did this morning, and once last week. Still highly erratic, but I recognize the necessity. Definitely room for improvement.

a fourth idea is to have friends and companions who love poetry (or the poetic) and who nourish it too. Room for improvement, but through blog-connections and the local workshop, there is hope :)

Dan Gurney said...

Neighbor, thanks for that fourth idea. Yes, absolutely. I've come to understand the importance to me of community for both creative and spiritual growth. Community obviously helps in more practical ways, too. I think our culture of individualism really makes it difficult for us to see how necessary and vital our social world actually is.

Blogs particularly make poetry more fun for me: they provide an instant readership and immediate feedback. And they allow us to read the poems out loud. But I'm lucky to live in a community where tons of people have come out of the poetry closet.

Ruth said...

I am feeling so much at home here.

The poem is fun and beautiful, but upon the listening, it took on depth. People have told me the same about mine. I first began recording mine after hearing Lorenzo's Rainstick poem in his voice. I think you are absolutely right, that poems are meant to be heard. Even that word "guts" sounded lovely in your voice. :)

I too feel that it is a matter of respect to respond to each and every comment separately. Over the five years I've blogged and done that (under the beautiful tutelage of my Indian friend rauf), I've questioned it, wondering if it appears like trying to amplify number of comments, or overly tedious for readers or myself. But I have always remained with the practice. I imagine the reader coming back, and seeing my response. And I imagine welcoming my friends into my salon, where I would respond individually, looking them in the eye. This is the closest thing to that, I feel.

I really love this workshopping you are carrying on in comments with Sabio and Neighbor. I took four poetry writing classes in college with Diane Wakoski, then participated in a poetry group with her for years, and workshopping is a privilege. To have a reader who feeds back is a remarkable gift. Lorenzo and I have done that with our drafts via email, and that has been very helpful. I find it a little more difficult to imagine doing it after posting on my blog though, I must confess! I love the openness expressed here in this one, but I wonder if it might be cool for the poet who wants critical feedback to indicate that somewhere, either in the post or on the blog. It could get a little dicey if suggestions are NOT welcome. :)

Sabio Lantz said...

Good points, Ruth.
Separate replies or grouped are 6 of one and 1/2 dozen of the other. Each with pros and cons. No big deal. It is just that my mailbox gets a little more flooded with the individual ones.
Both are cool though.

Yes, Dan is most welcoming!

Sabio Lantz said...

@ Dan
I know your site is a more emotive, aesthetic site but you know me, I love the philosophical. When I read a comment here about the "beauty of nature", it made me wonder. But I didn't want to take a tangent to this thread because it has taken the great direction of discussing poetry posting and growth -- so I just wrote a post: "Nature is Not Beautiful, Life is Not Suffering" if you are interested.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Ruth—

How pleased I am to find a comment from you this morning. I must confess checking the comments and hoping to see a comment from you since posting because your give so much thought to your comments and to your posts. You are the inspiration for making recordings, or maybe more accurate to say Lorenzo via you, in any event, I thank you for that inspiration. Being able to include an out-loud reading together with interaction with an audience makes this a very new and exciting day for poetry.

You and steven and Bonnie and I all seem to share the same feeling about comments. You expressed how I feel about them even better than I did. It's mostly a matter of courtesy. It's the same difference, as a classroom teacher I feel when I say good morning to each child individually and attentively as compared to the whole class. There is a difference.

Your suggestions about inviting comments in emails is an excellent one, and I think I'll take advantage of your suggestion. Thank you! Yes, it does take some courage, even to post a poem at all. Getting better acquainted with and curious about one's fears is usually quite productive.

Again, thanks for all you do in the blogging community, Ruth. I love your blogs, all of them.

Dan Gurney said...

Sabio, you get a lot more comments than I do. I suppose if I got that many I might decide to batch them, too. But I don't. So courtesy wins the day here.

Dan Gurney said...

Sabio, I can't get to it right away, but I look forward to reading your post.

I think it's really appropriate to respond with one's own post as opposed to taking up an energetic tangent in the comments section. Thanks. This is pointing up the need to offer commenting guidelines Ruth made me aware of. Actually you've done that on your blog. A good idea for sure.

Reya Mellicker said...

Fantastic and beautiful. You are a great weaver of words and ideas. Thanks for this!

Dan Gurney said...

Reya, you are welcome. I'm pleased you found it beautiful. You, by the way, are a great weaver of words yourself, and I read and enjoy your writing and your photographs regularly.