May 16, 2012

A.E. Stallings' "Fishing": Follow Up Discussion

Blogger Kelly said...
...thanks for posting the poem. I just read it and enjoyed it. (I liked the "sun ...sweating gold" too, and didn't need those last two lines either.)

I've never been to Deer Creek but have often wondered what it's like. I need to head up there one of these days.

May 13, 2012 11:54 PM
Blogger RuneE said...
To me, this poem was "easy":
As a father of three girls and and a boy, I know the situation all too well. :-) Being with your parents doing what you used to love, but now feel that you are growing out of - only you haven't. The relationship and the fun is still there. It's all about the process of growing up and getting independent. You discover that blood is still thicker than water and that you have more in common than the family name. Oh - beautifully written (I'm sure I have lost many of the nice details) with fitting photographs :-)
May 14, 2012 2:23 AM

Blogger Jean Spitzer said...
The first photo is my favorite.  As for the poem, I read it before I read your commentary and also felt let down by the last lines.
May 14, 2012 9:31 AM
Groundhog, Woodchuck: What's the Difference?
Blogger Hannah Stephenson said...
Interesting...I think the less heavy-handed the end of a poem (especially a rhyming one, especially a sonnet, the better.
Cedar Waxwing

I see what you mean about the ending. I think it hangs on the word "weighing"...

I thought of that Elizabeth Bishop poem, "The Fish," which is not at all my favorite poem of hers (but perhaps one of the most often anthologized). I think there is something to this....that there is a trope of the fishing poem. Maybe?

The poet Marita Dachsel has a strong fish poem ("Fish Stories"). I can't find the full text....just these lines: "The gills were still moving when my father inserted his knife/…when he scooped out the organs he saw the heart still/ pumping. He said nothing…and then/ placed it in my open palm."
May 14, 2012 11:51 AM
Blogger Pasadena Adjacent said...

"Life and death weighed in the shining scales,
The invisible line pulled taut that links them both"        

Those two lines in and of them selves have a rather pleasing appeal.Yes, they do seem jagged and contrived placed where they are.

It's always a pleasure to watch you map out a poem into it's rules and regulations via that hard light. I always regret that I wasn't able to grasp (or be exposed) to those kind of concepts when I was young.
May 14, 2012 8:54 PM
Blogger altadenahiker said...
Oh, this poem makes me hurt. You are underestimating that last line. It means something other than you think.
And I respond:

Kelly, great minds think alike? About Deer Creek—I prefer the hillier locations of Salt Fork and Mohican (and Shawnee, but it’s farther away), but D.C. is brighter, has better rooms, more on-site walking trails and maybe slightly better food. 

Rune, the poem may be easy, but the relationship stuff is all pretty complicated, isn’t it. I find the whole “blood thicker than water” thing a great mystery. Of course, there’s the more cynical version:  “you can’t choose your parents.”  Still a mystery!

Jean, thanks. It’s my favorite too. I can’t help thinking the tree should be at their backs, but there’s something unexpected, pleasantly off about the way they seem to sort of fish into the land.

Hannah, I feel that way about the Bishop. She often makes me work more than I want to—which is probably a good thing. But I also wonder if she’s making me work more than I should need to . . .   The Marita Dachsel lines are powerful!  I do not know her at all.  Finally, I also thought there’d be dozens of poems on fishing, but not really—or maybe I just thought the Stallings poem offered more people more subjects to see, relate to, talk about.

PA and AH, can you say more about that last line or two. I take it that the invisible line is their inextricable relatedness to each other, esp. in the context of life and death, but I think you’re seeing more, or other.
Indigo Bunting--juvenile in awkward, speckled molt??

PA, that mapping doesn’t appeal to everybody, when they are exposed to it in youth. It’s probably like grammar and diagramming sentences—some groove on it, others hate it, and others, like you, didn’t get a fair shot at it.  “Mapping” is the perfect word for it—thanks for that. I also think of puzzles and problem solving in general. And now it occurs to me, maybe even genealogy—how is this related to that in a line of words or beings?  

So many kids think it kills the spirit of a written piece to ask such questions, but I think they can be fascinating. Fortunately, so do some youth.

From there, it’s an easy step to all the adults who assail American education and youth because they've missed some point of grammar—when those on the attack flub one grammatical situation after another, if you just sit back and listen to a few of their sentences. Human nature can be quite the little miracle.


Pasadena Adjacent said...

I have nothing largely profound to say beyond finding the last two lines, when separated from the herd, had resonance for me. Life and death with a visual thrown in - iridescent scales (I trout fish)

I'm a late bloomer type. Information about structure, dangling participles etc was available to me but I just wasn't able to concentrate long enough to embrace it. I'm either smart or a little slow. The juries still out

Stickup Artist said...

I think "Fishing" is so sad it's almost unbearable. Parent and child is a complicated relationship. Life is hard when you lose a parent too young or have a parent that is not available. You may have to learn to parent yourself or even parent your parent. Even in the "normal" scheme of things, when you are young, you don't really realize that one day, your parents won't be around and maybe you didn't appreciate them enough when they were around. I love the last 2 lines. There is always that invisible line pulled taut, good or bad, and it's your own lifeline. And if the line is broken, you spend a lifetime mending it.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I forgot to mention how much I love the top mural. I tried to do something like that using Monty Montana and the reconfigured uniroyal tire company in compton (think kitchen syrian temples)

Do you have a larger jpg of it that you could send me (for reference needs) ?

Pasadena Adjacent said...

drats - Mac's new auto spell check has me looking even more illiterate then I already am.....not kitchen but kitche

Banjo52 said...

PA and Stickup (and AH), I'm gonna have to revisit those lines after a few days away from them.

Stickup, thanks for the heartfelt comments. I don't hear anything I could, or would want to, argue with. Sometimes it seems there are no winners in the parent-child thing. Even in the best relationships, some things are very hard, and it's so easy to end up in NOT the best relationship.

PA, done, sent. And why not blame it on Mac. Or better yet, Blogspot. :) How about Facebook--they're rich now, so we could even sue them.

Brenda's Arizona said...

Once again, late getting here.
'Fishing' makes me miss my dad... was I ever too old for what he wanted to share?

Banjo52 said...

Brenda, big, big question. Do you have an answer (not necessarily an accurate one)?

Brenda's Arizona said...

To which question?

Banjo52 said...

The only one you asked--I suppose it's kinda personal . . . "Was I ever too old for what he wanted to share?"

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