Dec 22, 2009

Lines for Winter by Mark Strand : The Poetry Foundation [poem] : Find Poems and Poets. Discover Poetry.

This Mark Strand poem is a little darker than Grace Paley's "Walking in the Woods" (December 9 here), but don't you think it offers a similar challenge?

Lines for Winter by Mark Strand : The Poetry Foundation [poem] : Find Poems and Poets. Discover Poetry.


Brenda's Arizona said...

This is a tear-jerker. It is really is...

Banjo52 said...

Thanks, Brenda. Between the holidays and the poem itself, I wondered if anyone would read or respond.

Is it just me or is that last line completely doubled-edged? At the end you look and find you need to--and do--like yourself. Or, at the end, how dare you think you like what you are?

Brenda's Arizona said...

Wow, I read something in it totally different. You have me re-reading it, but here is my continued take on it. An old man, put in a nursing home. He wants to go home, he wants to JUST go home. But there is no more home. So he tells himself that he will go on, just as he always has. That the only thing you can really rely on is your old bones, yourself. What is the future? all you know is the past. Why are you here? All you know is that you are. It is useless to beg to go home. You know nothing. You only know what your body tells you. It is a waiting game, you pass the time that you waiting looking for the familiar - your body, your bones. You maybe can't trust your mind, but you can your bones. You only know the loss, and what your body tells you.

And if you are lucky, you come to accept this. And maybe to love it. Because it is what you have now.

What a tear jerker, in this sense.

Tell me what you read - I need to know!

Banjo52 said...

Brenda, I think we're reading it in very similar ways. The main difference is that I don't think the speaker has to be in a nursing home, or even ancient. Though he's probably aging or aged, can't he be anyone reaching the end of the journey?

What I like about "Lines for Winter" and the other Strand poem, and Paley's "Walking in the Woods" is that they ask or demand that we step outside our routine selves and look at ourselves and take a look -- on the Big Scoreboard of Life :) How are we doing, and what can we do about it if we don't like the answer? Aren't you saying almost the same thing, except for putting your speaker in a nursing home?

And I like the way you speak passionately about it. How we go through the days or decades we have is not something to consider casually--in my humble opinion, and I think in Mark Strand's.

However, all this deep probing need not lead to bunjee jumping, also in my humble opinion. I could go on--maybe in a post someday.

It's really gratifying to hear someone respond so wholeheartedly--albeit sadly this time--to these things I throw out there, especially when the poem is new to me, as this one was. Thank you.

Brenda's Arizona said...

Several months ago, when my dad was still alive, I found a poem called "He Gets Around to Answering the Old Question". It was so much my dad - and when I read your post/poem, it all came flooding back to me. Someday I will blog about the "He gets around.." poem, but my dad's death is still a tender spot. Especially at Christmas!

I hope you have a Merry Christmas - and I look forward to MANY more discussions! You are like a private poetry teacher! HURRAH!!

Banjo52 said...

No wonder you read the poem the way you did, Brenda. So this is the first Christmas (and first a lot of things) without him? I swear there's something about this holiday that makes new wounds even harder. Hope you have a good, or just decent, day.

Lovers' Lane