Sunday, February 22, 2015

Passage - A Personal Challenge from Manicdaily (the Outlawyer), Karin Gustafson

Good morning Monday to all the Toads in all the corners of the Garden on this fabulous Monday.  Herotomost here.  Arm yourself with a cup of coffee (maybe with a little Bailey's) and sit down for a minute before the hectic work week begins and give yourself a little treat.

It was my turn to put up the Personal Challenge here at Toads and I chose Karin Gustafson!!! But, like most of the stuff I do, I procrastinated a bit and it came down to finally getting a hold of Karin while I was on my annual trip to Mexico. So as I was emailing her from my sunny spot beachside, she was in New York battling the crisp, cold New York weather.  It hardly seemed fair. But, as you know, Karin is an ever-present personality in our little garden community and always has a kind word for those who try to express their life, love, joy, desperation and frustration in words and hope that they find common cause with the anyone else in the universe.

Because of our polar opposite positions in the world at the time I presented her with the following prompt.  I told her she was in her room in New York and there was a curious door that appeared to go nowhere, but when she finally opened the door, she saw that it was a portal to a tropical sunny place, one of her choosing and to use that juxtaposition to write a piece about the differences, the similarities, the vibe etc.  of instantly traveling between both places.

I have to say, not that I was surprised at all, that Karin nailed it. As you will see below she painted a picture not only of physical location but one of emotional connection to the "what if" nature of the challenge.

I greatly appreciate Karin taking me up on the challenge and applaud the effort she has put in,  If you get the chance (and I am sure most have, visit her blogs and have a look a the wonderful writing and illustrations she has, she is an amazing artist, seems like an amazing person and her new nickname may have to be Ms. Murder, because she always kills it!!!!!!

Thanks Karin!!!!!!!!


The passageway to warmth
is as wide as it need be--
the breadth of your body, the breath
of your body--
sighs sized to stretch us both
into foreshortened
a night narrow
as two spoons.

But when, feeling lone,  
the brain becomes
a dislocated bone,
when crevices
hutch stone, darkness thickens
and even walls pass judgment,
one confuses

Some mistake
an unlit oven
for possible passage (the speckle
of its inner midnight misread
as splotches of star),
consider cuts channels, purge
as release, oblivion
a coveted tease--

when--I have to believe--
if time could just
be waited upon, warmth might alight
in windowed panes,
great trapezoids of sun winnowed
from the meanest cracks,
brightnesses to bring us back
into blink and dazzle,
a radiance that lets us wear
its raiment as our own, quickening
whatever lists into its frame and, too,
what simply looks on. 

Manicddaily, Karin Gustafson, here (somehow also known as Outlawyer, due to a momentary blip years ago--agh--Google never forgets!)  

Yes, I may just call it a draft, since I’m still changing this, and frankly, am not sure it shouldn’t simply end with the first stanza, simply as a kind of love poem.    

Many thanks to Corey for thinking of me to do a challenge, and for coming up with this one in particular, which led me to write a couple of different poems, and was an especially appealing topic in frozen New York. 


brudberg said...

I love the way you covered all those aspects beginning with first gentle warmth of togetherness, going thorough the feelings of doubt and loneliness.. finally landing in a sense of normalcy from the challenge of that door. I loved the way the rhymes were placed to just put a sense of rhythm and not overdoing it. A worthy answer to that challenge.

grapeling said...

"a night narrow/ as two spoons"

what a fantastic description, k - the whole verse, really, entree to this other world.

V2's rhyme syncopates and reinforces a sort of macabre observance, and the third fully wheels it in: "a coveted tease" is some chilling way to view the stars within an oven.

warmth seems as far away as a distant star; your close is brilliant and cold.

Corey, you instigated a good one, you sly dog. ~

hedgewitch said...

Thanks to both Corey and Karin for this--it is a substantial, nourishing piece of exceptional poetry, traveling to the heart of human existence.

No, I don't think I'm exaggerating.

The little details here are what grab me--the inside of the oven with the familiar blue speckled white compared to the sky, the way warmth seems to break through the clouds so naturally and inevitably at the end, and of course the superlative use of rhyme in the second stanza.("But when, feeling lone,/the brain becomes/ a dislocated bone... "--I can certainly relate to that!)

I definitely think it would be far less of a whole entity without the entire four sections, which do build both a passage(in turns of passing through) and a connection from one point to another, one part of living to another. Just a stellar poem. Thanks again to you both for making my morning.

hedgewitch said...

'in TERMS of passing through..' sorry--first cup of coffee here.

Outlawyer said...

Thanks Joy, Bjorn, Michael, COREY! k .

Kerry O'Connor said...

I really love the opening stanza, but would have been loathe to miss out on the remainder of your poem if it had ended there. I so appreciate the nuance of word play you have brought to this, and the possibility of another dimension which could open up to us, if we took the trouble to look for it, is a very tempting thing for me to believe in.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Me, too, we need the whole poem. This is a BRILLIANT write. I admired the wordplay, the scope, the breadth, LOVED the "night narrow as two spoons", the brain becoming "a dislocated bone", and, especially, "brightnesses to bring us back into blink and dazzle." You so totally nailed it.

Herotomost said...

You did a magnificent job Karin, thanks for I gulping my challenge. You did me proud!!!!

Helen said...

Captivated - stanza one. Head over heels - stanza two. Stanzas three and four - icing on the cake! Sigh.

A great challenge!

Unknown said...

A pleasure to read!

Jim said...

Thank you Karin, I appreciated your quest for warmness in places, some familiar and some where I could never have never dreamed. Picture was nice, it left things open.
Two quick BTW's: we did Mexico and Belize on a one-week cruise January 11-18, a wonderful escape; and secondly I don't remember what you said an Outlawyer is, I read once. I am a Texas lawyer with Emeritus Attorney status (means dues-free after a certain age).

Anonymous said...

This was fantastic, Karin! Manicddaily really opened a portal here for us all to go through. Just when you think you have nothing more to say (after your first stanza) you definitely do! The assonance and internal rhyme in the very next sentence is enough for me to not want the journey to end, even if I have to go through an unlit oven or the meanest crack.

Marian said...

Oh my goodness... this is exquisite, really. Yes the first stanza! But the rest is a flowering, an unfolding, an exploration. Or maybe it is a contraction. Just love it. The unlit oven wormhole most especially beckons. Wonderful!

Maude Lynn said...

The is beautifully crafted, K. I adore it.

Outlawyer said...

Thanks all for your very kind comments. k.

Susie Clevenger said...

"a night narrow
as two spoons"
"the brain becomes
a dislocated bone"

Just two beautiful lines from a whole piece of such beauty. Your talent always amazes and blesses me. You rose to Corey's challenge and flew beyond it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Susie--happy birthday! k.

Grace said...

A beautiful response to Corey's Challenge K ~ Love the part of a night narrow as two spoons, sun winnowed from the meanest cracks, radiance that lets us wear its raiment as our own ~

Outlawyer said...

Thanks so much, Grace. K.

Outlawyer said...

Congrats, Jim, on no dues! I never really said what an outlawyer is --it is a silly blog name I came up with some time ago and never used but Google sticks me with it. Take care, k.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Corey for shining a light on Karin, and to Karin for this poem with its central ember in the first stanza and radiant heat throughout. What does the inside of love look like, and what are we without it down the icy harrows of the year's worst season? Is love a metaphor for heat or the other way around? Always we're treated to a mind lining up the arguments with a reason garbed in so many imaginative raiments. "If time could just be waited on," indeed.

Outlawyer said...

Thank you, Brandon, for your thoughtful reading. K.

Margaret said...

I do like the entirety, but that first stanza is gold and I like it on its own… as I am loath to let it go…

Outlawyer said...

Thanks, Margaret. It gets a little depressing moving on! k.