Thursday, February 12, 2015

Poetry Thursday: Poems for Valentine's Day

I have many conflicted feelings when it comes to Valentine's Day.  I remember making mailboxes for Valentines out of shoeboxes.  I remember classroom parties in elementary school with candy and cupcakes and people delivering mass-produced cards.  I remember counting them afterwards and comparing the count to everyone else's count.

I am not proud to admit this, but I also remember feeling unloved when my count was lower.  I didn't focus on the 15 cards I did get, but on the 25 cards that my prettier best friend got.  It's a lesson I continue to learn again and again, that I would be happier if I didn't compare myself to others.

When I look at those long-ago class pictures, I can no longer pick out the pretty girls, the handsome boys.  They all look like kids to me, regular kids, each and every one. 

I have happier memories of making Valentines, both as a child and an adult.  A few years ago, my spouse and I made homemade Valentines for our nephew.  My sister reported that he was thrilled.

A few years ago, a group of us at work met to compare poems and art.  And now, one of those poems is up at Escape into Life:  go here to read it.  You'll need to scroll down to get to my poem.

It's part of a great feature, poems and art for Valentine's Day.  Last week's installment was wonderful too.

When I think about the writing process of that poem, I don't think about words.  I remember it as the time when our Pam Reagan, our visual artist friend, showed us a mask.  When she said mask, I thought Mardi Gras and two dimensions.  She told us that she had broken glass Christmas ornaments, but I thought she had laid them flat.

I was not prepared for this:

When I read the poem, I see the elements of the piece in the poem, particularly in these images:

"You envisioned the Mardi Gras mask"

"the glittered borders"

But I no longer remember how I came to use the idea of a rosary, of deconstructing sacred relics to repair a heart.  It feels somewhat sacrilegious to me, yet I know that it's sound theology of a sort. 

Is it my theology?  No.  I didn't intend it as theology--I save that writing for other outlets.  But I do love the imagery, and I don't feel that I've used it in a profane way.  It may not be sacred, but it's not intended as a desecration.

The poem does what I want for all my poems:  it makes me look at a subject differently.  In this case, it takes images that have a powerful potential for cliché and banality that comes from overuse and makes me think about them differently.

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

Wow! I love getting the process notes on this poem, and seeing the actual gorgeous but dangerous looking mask!