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Monthly Archives: December 2008

Hopper

ARTIST : Edward Hopper (1882-1967)

PAINTING : Nighthawks (oil on canvas, 1942)

EXHIBITION : reproduction of painting in book The Poetry of Solitude : A Tribute to Edward Hopper by Gail Levin (Universe, 1995)

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Nighthawks

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None here may deflect the slant

of those blank windows, severe as

falcons, famished, across the

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silenced street. At least one keen

sorrow will swoop tonight

upon them — some local tenement

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grief, a hapless bargain, or this

cornered woman just about to

speak her hard, red truth.

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Green curbs spanning like wings

of prey, one unlidded bulb raw

yellow. And no owner to cloak

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the empty counter stools, brown

and mute: orphans frightened by

such still white cups of coffee.

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By how much chatter is missing.

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by Therese L. Broderick

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Easterly

ARTIST : Sally Easterly

PAINTING : Girl with Red Hair

EXHIBITION : “First Friday” arts night, Albany, NY (March 2008)

NOTE : The artist has seen the poem. The poem is also published in the poet’s chapbook Within View (2008).

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Small Tease

The redhead seated
with her back to us
has teased out

her long, thick hair
which hangs,
frizzled yet soft,

over the back
of a green chair,
green teasing out

the yellow light washing
all over the room,
yellow teasing out

the black heels
of the shoes
she casually wears :

and so a small painting
of a single girl
can tease out, as though

combed, a small poem,
curl by curl
by curl.

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by Therese L. Broderick

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Chinese artists

ARTIST : unknown Chinese artists

ARTWORK : ancient Chinese coins

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My coin-inspired poem “On a Twentieth Anniversary” was published in issue 7 of The Innisfree Poetry Journal.  I thank the journal’s editor for his professional guidance with the text. Look for the poem HERE.

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ABOUT THIS POEM

My goal when composing any poem is to craft a passage of spoken language supersaturated with both sound and sense.

SOUND

The lines at the heart of the poem, in the center, are the most musical : “eludes” and “grooves” ; “yours” and “enduring” and “figures.”

In this poem I employ a device which I noticed once in another poem : I play the sounds of the first line against the sounds of the title. I pair the short e vowels in “twentieth” with “decade,” and the short i vowels in “anniversary” with “lived.” 

Throughout the poem, I strive to create a quiet, intimate tone in accordance with the wedding anniversary theme. The poem is small, like a coin : something to hold, to pass from hand to hand.

SENSE

This poem is an occasion poem, written for a particular event. One of the conceits of the poem is “Love as Accounting” : counting coins as well as years, and recounting ancient currency as well as memories.

One of the small ironies of the poem is that poetry is, after all, one way to put Love into figures and words. Irony is one kind of figurative language.

With the phrase “the metal / of marriage” I evoke (perhaps too subtly) the word “mettle.”

I have wanted to write a poem inspired by some kind of metalwork ever since I discovered that the earliest ekphrastic passage recorded in Western literature is the description in Homer’s Iliad of the metal shield of Achilles. In a very small way, my poem here continues that lineage. 

FACT and FICTION

The poem is autobiographically factual.

Sonogram

ARTIST : employee of  Albany Medical Center (Albany, NY)
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ARTWORK : sonogram print (1993)
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EXHIBITION : poet’s personal copy, framed at home
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NOTE : This poem was inspired by Francine Sterle’s poem “Framed Sonogram” on page 71-72 of her book Nude in Winter (Tupelo, 2006). This poem benefited from the feedback of two local critique groups.
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Upon First Seeing Your Sonogram
(My Name Misspelled in the Margin)
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Here at last I can clearly see
your head rimmed by a glorious flash,
your ear and eye and small curtsy
of chin to chest so honestly set
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in black & white. O unborn girl
whom long ago I began to call
Elizabeth Verity (for a Tudor, for Truth),
just as you grow from anointed infant
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to flawless princess, I shall become
the adoring one who each hour
seeks out your newest favors~~a smile,
a steady gaze, a finger’s touch~~
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so grateful for your fond corrections:
those proper Mama‘s you’ll place upon me.
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by Therese L. Broderick
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