26/03/2014

Beat

I have been working on the tryptich.

Trimming it, pruning it, pointing it, breathing air into it, opening it up, revealing the mysteries contained therein. Taking it from the page and into the realm of the voice spoken, where poetry should be.

As it stands at the moment the words are there, the sense is there, the emotions are beginning to emerge but it perhaps needs the drum. The structure is blank verse in pentameters, and in theory is iambic - as all things in theory are iambic. But I am thinking of bringing the dithyramb to the fore - 'curiosuity satisfied, we leave for town' - dithyramb, dithyramb, iamb, iamb.

This is  the poem as it stands at present.

Triptych

First Meeting
I follow the crowd pulled by curiosity.
The day is cold, even for morning it's cold.
The Jordan shimmers through the reeds, green silk,
licking the foot prints at the water's edge
into flatness. He waits for us, glowing,
on the far bank, hand in welcome to cross.
The new sun dazzles, but some, bright blinded,
enter the water. The splashing of feet dulls
as they reach midstream, their clothes drag them back.
Waist deep, women toss their girdle aside,
rend their simlah, and bare breasted proceed
to receive his welcome. I sit on a dune
as others go across. Some with clothes folded,
held above their head, naked men, boys, women
sailing swaddled infants in fig baskets.
I do not go. Nor does the carpenter.
He takes new bread from his bag, breaks it,
gives me one half. I nod. A cheer goes up,
over the river, the blessing begins.
People dance, sing, hands clap, laughter peals
as one by one these simple folk immerse
themselves, emerging ecstatic and saved.
My tongue fishes an unmilled grain from the crust.
Curiosity satisfied, we leave for town.

In The Market
The tax collector's beadling stare pins me,
his sharp hook'd nose, holds me, sniffs for coins
leaning across the narrow slatted stall,
eyes twisting, as a bird, or a lizard
eager for more; fearing its prey will flit.
Three meagre coins lay between us. His hand
gathers them up as he slithers from me,
beard stinking of onions, and avarice,
he moves on. I swat a fly from a fish eye,
and engagingly smile at a soldier
who pauses to examine the paltry wares
left unsold, Their glass glazed expression,
milking inward, speak of the rot begun.

An evening breeze carries the scent of bread.
I keep the best fish, throw the rest to dogs
in the innkeepers yard, pull eight farthings
from a chink in the wall, settle my pitch;
and prepare for home, when I see a crowd
gathering around the doctor's side door.
The carpenter is there, sitting aloof,
as the people jostle, and push, to see
through the doorway, into the courtyard.
In his hand, he holds a stave, that he smooths
with a piece of glass, turning constantly
the wood, back and forward, thumb and fingers;
running the glass steadily up and down:
the stave's heel hollows a bowl in the dust.
at his feet From the courtyard drifts a voice;
a clear voice, baritone, lemon scented.
I have heard it before. The carpenter
lays the stave aside, stretches his left leg
and rises from the wall. It is then I see
the tax collector perched like an eagle
in the lower branches of a cedar;
spying into the courtyard down below.

My mother's neck is speckled with flour
when I arrive home. She takes the Barbel,
guts it, lops the head, boils it with sweet herbs.

Business
"Dog dong. You, Sardine, two. Talapia, six.
Hands off. Six, Six." Creaking wicker baskets
spill their guts, glistening bloodied, dark fin,
sliding, slipping, gills gasping, mouth agape.
Clattering coins smack down, elbows jab, "Six,
six, not five, six. Dog dong." Rigging rings tap,
loose furled sails waft sunlight on buyer's backs;
light to dark, shout and trade, profit then eat.
I secure my basket, mindful to pad
the twig, which when laden, vexes my kidney.
"Dog dong, Dog dong, sardine two, pay up."

Damp morning still hangs wet upon the air,
horizon haze lengthens earth's rim skyward,
pulling trees into ghosts. Sun washed houses
open shutters to bleach them fresh of night,
sleepy caught, burnt, morning bread odour fades
in the ferment and grind of women's work.

I stop to shift my burden at the spot
on the river, where yesterday crowds came.
Abandoned shoes, snaking girdles, shawls,
lie on the near shore. Whilst on the far bank
nothing remains, except a single wreath
of thistles, purple splash among the reeds.

Cresting the rise, I follow a crow straight
to the inauspicious tree, on which hangs
a slave. The patient bird, struts and listens
to the four dark figures, impervious,
standing beneath its meal. As I draw near
I hear the tax collector and doctor
engaged in heated wrangle for the nails.
The carpenter hands the soldier his stave.
As the wood splits her groin, she sags, exhales,
her white eyes look up to heaven in joy;
unmoved, the taxing Samaritan claws
at a deal for the nails tearing again
at the woman's palms, as the soldier turns
back to the carpenter releasing the shaft.
I pass by, half turning to shield my load
from the tax collector's calculating eye.

The section titles also need reconsidering, as at present they imply a linear narrative. Which goes against the objective of this being three distinct scenes, intended to be viewed both separately and in diverse order.

Triptych 

Business
"Dog dong. You, Sardine, two. Talapia, six.
Hands off. Six, Six." Creaking wicker baskets
spill their guts, glistening bloodied, dark fin,
sliding, slipping, gills gasping, mouth agape.
Clattering coins smack down, elbows jab, "Six,
six, not five, six. Dog dong." Rigging rings tap,
loose furled sails waft sunlight on buyer's backs;
light to dark, shout and trade, profit then eat.
I secure my basket, mindful to pad
the twig, which when laden, vexes my kidney.
"Dog dong, Dog dong, sardine two, pay up."

Damp morning still hangs wet upon the air,
horizon haze lengthens earth's rim skyward,
pulling trees into ghosts. Sun washed houses
open shutters to bleach them fresh of night,
sleepy caught, burnt, morning bread odour fades
in the ferment and grind of women's work.

I stop to shift my burden at the spot
on the river, where yesterday crowds came.
Abandoned shoes, snaking girdles, shawls,
lie on the near shore. Whilst on the far bank
nothing remains, except a single wreath
of thistles, purple splash among the reeds.

Cresting the rise, I follow a crow straight
to the inauspicious tree, on which hangs
a slave. The patient bird, struts and listens
to the four dark figures, impervious,
standing beneath its meal. As I draw near
I hear the tax collector and doctor
engaged in heated wrangle for the nails.
The carpenter hands the soldier his stave.
As the wood splits her groin, she sags, exhales,
her white eyes look up to heaven in joy;
unmoved, the taxing Samaritan claws
at a deal for the nails tearing again
at the woman's palms, as the soldier turns
back to the carpenter releasing the shaft.
I pass by, half turning to shield my load
from the tax collector's calculating eye.

 First Meeting
I follow the crowd pulled by curiosity.
The day is cold, even for morning it's cold.
The Jordan shimmers through the reeds, green silk,
licking the foot prints at the water's edge
into flatness. He waits for us, glowing,
on the far bank, hand in welcome to cross.
The new sun dazzles, but some, bright blinded,
enter the water. The splashing of feet dulls
as they reach midstream, their clothes drag them back.
Waist deep, women toss their girdle aside,
rend their simlah, and bare breasted proceed
to receive his welcome. I sit on a dune
as others go across. Some with clothes folded,
held above their head, naked men, boys, women
sailing swaddled infants in fig baskets.
I do not go. Nor does the carpenter.
He takes new bread from his bag, breaks it,
gives me one half. I nod. A cheer goes up,
over the river, the blessing begins.
People dance, sing, hands clap, laughter peals
as one by one these simple folk immerse
themselves, emerging ecstatic and saved.
My tongue fishes an unmilled grain from the crust.
Curiosity satisfied, we leave for town.

In The Market
The tax collector's beadling stare pins me,
his sharp hook'd nose, holds me, sniffs for coins
leaning across the narrow slatted stall,
eyes twisting, as a bird, or a lizard
eager for more; fearing its prey will flit.
Three meagre coins lay between us. His hand
gathers them up as he slithers from me,
beard stinking of onions, and avarice,
he moves on. I swat a fly from a fish eye,
and engagingly smile at a soldier
who pauses to examine the paltry wares
left unsold, Their glass glazed expression,
milking inward, speak of the rot begun.

An evening breeze carries the scent of bread.
I keep the best fish, throw the rest to dogs
in the innkeepers yard, pull eight farthings
from a chink in the wall, settle my pitch;
and prepare for home, when I see a crowd
gathering around the doctor's side door.
The carpenter is there, sitting aloof,
as the people jostle, and push, to see
through the doorway, into the courtyard.
In his hand, he holds a stave, that he smooths
with a piece of glass, turning constantly
the wood, back and forward, thumb and fingers;
running the glass steadily up and down:
the stave's heel hollows a bowl in the dust.
at his feet From the courtyard drifts a voice;
a clear voice, baritone, lemon scented.
I have heard it before. The carpenter
lays the stave aside, stretches his left leg
and rises from the wall. It is then I see
the tax collector perched like an eagle
in the lower branches of a cedar;
spying into the courtyard down below.

My mother's neck is speckled with flour
when I arrive home. She takes the Barbel,
guts it, lops the head, boils it with sweet herbs.

for instance....

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