Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Poetry Break: "Nothin'"

The Moon as seen from Wikipedia

In 1989, I left for Germany on a Fulbright Fellowship, feeling on top of the world. One moon later, having discovered that my stipend didn't stretch very far in Kiel, a northern German city on the Baltic Sea, and despite being closer to the North Pole there, I was feeling rather less than on top of the world.

I was feeling rather more ... antarctic.

Emperor Penguins have a hard antarctic life. Did you know that? Recently, my family and I watched La Marche de l'empereur (in French with Korean subtitles!), and afterwards, my 9-year-old daughter wrote in her journal, "I hadn't known that penguins suffered so much."

Well, I wasn't a Kiel imperial penguin, but short on cash, and only temporarily in town for language study before heading on to Tübingen, where I'd again have to find a place to stay, I felt penniless, homeless, and obscurely blue.

But the moon was shining, so I wrote this:
Nothin'

Ain' got no money,
ain' got no home,
ain got much pride,
'pon my bones...

B'duh silver moon
glows pure t'night:
So I rench my soul
in pale moon light.
Sometimes, the moonlight is enuf...

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6 Comments:

At 8:31 PM, Blogger eshuneutics said...

Two images for a gypsy scholar:

To behold the wandering moon,
Riding near her highest noon,
Like one that had been led astray
Through the heaven's wide pathless way.

the moon unfolds her songs
nomadic like a restless truth

 
At 3:29 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Eshuneutics, I like the latter more than the former because it reads better to my ear.

The former seems to reach for a kind of tetrameter ... without quite achieving it. Or am I mistaken in wanting to read it that way? I have a tendency to read for verse that scans, and this can mislead me. I suppose that, like the moon, I can be led astray...

The latter obviously doesn't scan, so I'm not tempted to read it metrically. Rather, I pause where pauses seem appropriate to the meaning. So, I like it better.

Thanks for the images.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 4:02 AM, Blogger qaiz said...

wow.. i'm kinda sad for you.. hope things get better!

Very Nice poem...


Q.

 
At 4:14 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Qaiz, well ... they have gotten better in the 17 years or so since I wrote that, and it was only a passing moment anyway.

But thanks for the well wishes.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:00 PM, Blogger jj mollo said...

Sounds familiar as a song.

I love the penguin movie. Just amazing. Their effort is astonishing.

They look funny, which makes us think they must be having fun. Maybe they are, but it's easy to forget how nasty Evolution can be. The Shakers were the ones having the most fun, because they knew the were getting off the merry-go-round.

 
At 4:19 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JJ Mollo, by "Shakers," do you mean the celibate religious sect that made sturdy furniture and sublimated their desire into religious song and spirited spiritual dance?

They may have gotten off the merry-go-round, but turning, turning was still their delight...

Jeffery Hodges

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