Friday, April 6, 2012

Hachiko - 6/30

Today's prompt over at NaPoWriMo.net lined up perfectly with an idea I already had brewing around. It's nice when that happens. Like rain falling on you when you needed a shower...that's not an apt comparison. But rain is nice.

*ahem* Anyway...the prompt!

And now, the prompt! Marianne Moore is probably best remembered for two things: long, long-lined poems that nonetheless had a precision to their music and imagery, a finicky grace, and the fact that she wrote so much about animals. For examples of both things happening at once, try The Fish, or He “Digesteth Harde Yron”, or The Pangolin, or any of dozens more.
In her honor, I challenge you today to write a poem about an animal. If you’re feeling up to it, try Moore’s trick of incorporating quotes or text from other sources — maybe you write about an elephant, and incorporate some elephant facts. This trick gave her work a collaged feeling, as though it is both educational and lyrical. You could also play around with varying line-lengths, oddly-shaped stanzas, or trying to write with her formal tone (she always sounds like a very dignified great-aunt to me). Happy Marianne Moore-ing!
I have had an animal in mind that I've wanted to write something for for a while. So, today was good in finally bringing it to a boil and bubbling its poetic goodness over onto this barely read blog. So to all 8 of my readers, enjoy the poem! (and if you would like to learn more about this animal, I recommend the movie "Hachiko: A Dog's Tale". Just go into it expecting to leave a weepy mess.)

Hachiko

The bronze eyes stare from where
seventy-seven years before
a dog drew a portrait of God
with his faithfulness.
Verdure dully reflects
in this dark, memorial fur.
Winter pours and pillows
on its vigil, as with his.
Hachiko.
When death plucked
his best friend away like
the sun suddenly eclipsed,
Hachiko waited where he
saw him last, in the shadow of
Shibuya’s timepiece, trusting
that eventually this sun
would return from whatever
dark had claimed it.
No amount of time
was too long to wait, panting
an adoration we have yet
to understand
into daytime’s crowds and
midnight’s shroud.

Hachiko,
if only I could love like you.
If only my wiring
was more Akita, less
human: so slow to notice
our bonds, so quick to
let them go.
Teach me how to love
from my soul, so nothing –
no difference, no distance,
no compulsory busyness –
would ever sever
these soul-wove tethers,
these bonds.
That bond, beyond love or need
but without better words
to tame it,
that had you hold a nine-year post
like the best ‘Welcome Home’
anyone could ever know,
until sleep at
last returned
him to you.
Hachiko.

His bronze testament
sits ready over a sea of autumn
and humanity, its eyes
merely sculpture
in their convex stare,
and yet,
with each patina-fleeced glance
and the noble tilt of his chin,
something burns
deep between my shoulder blades
and tangles in my throat,
as if witnessing something
I’ll never be able
to appreciate.

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