Imagination doesn't just mean making things up. It means thinking things through, solving [problems] or hoping to do so, and being just distant enough to be able to laugh at things that are normally painful. [Some people] would call this escapism, but they would be be entirely wrong. I would call fantasy the most serious, and the most useful branch of writing there is.
--Diana Wynne Jones

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

I forgot I meant to post this lovely poem for Valentine's Day. My disgust with February doesn't extend to romantic poetry as long as it's truly lovely. As usual, I use the Emily Dickinson standard for judging: you feel it takes the top of your head off. This one did for me. 


Here it is, a day late.



On The Origins Of Things
by Troy Jollimore

Everyone knows that the moon started out
as a renegade fragment of the sun, a solar
flare that fled that hellish furnace
and congealed into a flat frozen pond suspended
between the planets. But did you know
that anger began as music, played
too often and too loudly by drunken performers
at weddings and garden parties? Or that turtles
evolved from knuckles, ice from tears, and darkness
from misunderstanding? As for the dominant
thesis regarding the origin of love, I
abstain from comment, nor will I allow
myself to address the idea that dance
began as a kiss, that happiness was
an accidental import from Spain, that the ancient
game of jump-the-fire gave rise
to politics. But I will confess
that I began as an astronomer—a liking
for bright flashes, vast distances, unreachable things,
a hand stretched always toward the furthest limit—
and that my longing for you has not taken me
very far from that original desire
to inscribe a comet's orbit around the walls
of our city, to gently stroke the surface of the stars.

2 comments:

  1. "anger began as music, played
    too often and too loudly by drunken performers"

    That totally makes sense to me.

    I love the ending. Of course, in poetry you should always love the ending but this one is particularly...meteor shower for me. =]

    ReplyDelete
  2. I loved those parts, too. And also, happiness "an accidental import from Spain." I'm so glad you liked it, Laura. :)

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