Thursday, 9 April 2009

My Lady Mandeville

According to my prof, this is the best poem I've written yet. It's the one I read at the anthology launch, and has received positive feedback.*

Not sure if I'll be publishing this. If I do, I suppose I may need to take it down.

Anyway, here goes:

My Lady Mandeville

a mountain slumbers on Silha
an island Mandeville found.
at the top is a pearly lake weighted
with jewels and stones
with yellow leeches and snakes
and cockodrills
the serpentine beasts with dead eyes.

if you rub yourself down with lemons
the natives said
you can enter the mountain pool
and take the pearls.
around the cliffs are wastelands
filled with white ox-heavy lions
two-headed geese
coiled russet dragons that feed on locals
yet not on strange men from strange lands.
the sea is tucked so high against the shore
that the peak appears to hang amoung the clouds.

I want my Lady Mandeville,
my sailor-mate, to break her prow on the rampart shore
to dare my looming sky
someone foreign to trek the barren gravel
some farmwife to untangle my crossed drakes
pluck them to their down
to calm my hydras with her strange hands
beat my leonine pride.
some intrepid to scale these bluffs
to lullaby the tugging asps
acidic enough to wilt the leeches
burn the moccasins
outstare my crook-toothed cockodrills
to slip into that reed-gagged pond
try for the bottom
pull out those oyster stones.

*Not to brag, but "positive feedback" has meant both that people have verbal told me it was a good job, and that when I looked up after reading and looked into my peers' eyes, I could see they were thinking, "Damn. That's good." Or maybe I was hallucinating it.

Also, it's my strong inclination to provide a reading for this poem. I want to tell you want each little bit is supposed to "mean." But I know I shouldn't, so I won't.

Here's a link, though, that provides one of my 'influences.'


Kay said...

I enjoy trying to derive meaning from a piece of writing on my own, but I like to value the author's point of writing it too. I strongly disagree with the idea that once a piece of writing is public, then it no longer belongs to the author.

In conclusion: you should tell me what this poem means to you!

Christian H said...

Kay, you would make a terrible formalist. :P

But I meant more individual lines. I have this anxiety where people won't get the language play (ie. puns). I really shouldn't worry about that, though.

It's more about wanting someone to keep me accountable than a romantic relationship, per se, but that doesn't always come through in poetry.

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