Saturday, August 08, 2009

Marvin Bell Birthday Reading

Hi All - Please join us on Thursday, 13 August as we meet on the occasion of Marvin Bell's birthday. Meet us at the Barnes & Noble on Tittabawassee Road at 7pm. We will begin by reading the following poems and answering the related questions. Please feel free to bring questions and other contributions of your own for discussion, sharing, etc. NOTE: Marvin Bell (pictured, right) will not be there. See you then! ~Andy

“A Man May Change”
by Marvin Bell

As simply as a self-effacing bar of soap

escaping by indiscernible degrees in the wash water

is how a man may change

and still hour by hour continue in his job.

There in the mirror he appears to be on fire

but here at the office he is dust.

So long as
there remains a little moisture in the stains,
he stands easily on the pavement

and moves fluidly through the corridors. If only one

cloud can be seen, it is enough to know of others,

and life stands on the brink. It rains

or it doesn’t, or it rains and it rains again.

But let it go on raining for forty days and nights

or let the sun bake the ground for as long,

and it isn’t life, just life, anymore, it’s living.

In the meantime, in the regular weather of ordinary days,
it sometimes happens that a man has changed
so slowly that he slips away

before anyone notices

and lives and dies before anyone can find out.

From accessed 20 July 2009.

Question for discussion:

* What do you think is “the regular weather of ordinary days”?

“An Introduction to My Anthology”
by Marvin Bell

Such a book must contain—

it always does!—a disclaimer.

I make no such. For here

I have collected all the best—
the lily from the field among them,
forget-me-nots and mint weed,
a rose for whoever expected it,

and a buttercup for the children

to make their noses yellow.

Here is clover for the lucky
to roll in, and milkweed to clatter,

a daisy for one judgment,

and a violet for when he loves you

or if he loves you not and why not.

Those who sniff and say no,

These are the wrong ones (and
there always are such people!)—
let them go elsewhere, and quickly!

For you and I, who have made it this far,
are made happy by occasions

requiring orchids, or queenly arrangements

and even a bird-of-paradise,

but happier still by the
flowers of
circumstance, cattails of our youth,

field grass and bulrush. I have included
the devil’s paintbrush

but only as a peacock among barn fowl.

From accessed 20 July 2009

Question for discussion:

* What could be “the flowers of circumstance”?

“Your Shakespeare”
by Marvin Bell

If I am sentenced not to talk to you,

and you are sentenced not to talk to me,

then we wear the clothes of the desert

serving that sentence, we are the leaves

trampled underfoot, not even fit to be

ground in for food, then we are the snow.

If you are not what I take you to be,

and I am not what you take me to be,

then we are the glass the bridegroom smashes,

the lost tribes underfoot, no one sees,

no one can speak to us, in such seas we

drift in we cannot be saved, we are the rain.

If I am unable to help myself,
and you are unable to help yourself,

then anything will happen but nothing follows,

we eat constantly but nothing satisfies.

We live, finally, on the simplest notions:

bits of glass in the head’s reticent weather.

From accessed 20 July 2009

Question for discussion:

* What is the value of

1 comment:

Andrew Christ said...

Thank you for the kind words. I enjoyed watching your "art station" video. With the music, I found it relaxing. Now anyone with YouTube connection can see a "slice of life" in urban Brazil! So nice.