¶ freshly painted walls ⎟ PEA

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There is a feeling that catches breaths,
Each one brings us close to death,
These moments when you feel you could
Be the person you know you should.

It haunts your dreams, your nights, your days,
It is the thing you know everyone says,
In song, in rhyme, in two-beat time,
It coats your soul like heavy slime.

You look through yourself to see what’s seen,
And wonder how else life could have been,
If only, when you were ever so little,
You wouldn’t have been quite so brittle,

To feel the pain that made you feel
As though your worth was unreal,
You clung to words that made you fly,
But how long until you feel them lie?

Because words twist, and they distort,
From you, your life, they will extort,
Minute by minute, pound by pound,
They will catch your breath until you’re drowned,

Ne’er be fooled by idle chatter,
For you’ll not find the words that flatter
All the people in all the world;
Such dizzy thoughts will have you whirled,

Learn to be the dreams you’ve dreamt,
Tell the stories that you invent,
Let words escape, as you enthral;
Paint the floors and paint the walls.

For freedom spent, is freedom kept,
And all of life should feel windswept,
Dwell not where the soul is lost,
For it is cold and iced with frost,

In Charon’s boat, it bids farewell,
Ere again Orpheus will fail,
Sing in notes that please the gods,
And you might win, against the odds.

Catch those breaths once stunted, yet;
Hold them long in a butterfly net,
Youth wishes to last forever,
It spends its pennies howsoever,

Flitter-flutter–heart does beats,
It’s time that love really cheats,
Drink the tides of setting suns,
Sweet libations of what’s been done.

–fin

 

Links: http://poets.ca/2016/02/08/national-poetry-month-2016/


Heaps of love,

wordplay xx

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¶ as i shouldered your heart ⎟ PEA

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I was walking down the path,
as I shouldered your
crumbling heart.
You pushed against me
about to fly like loose leaves
along the wind.

The slow tortoise winked,
the moose battered his antlers,
the crows screeched in warning,
their fear drawing us nearer
into clearer darkness of the
faded day.

We stop to settle and sup,
as the sun’s last rays tickled
the tops of leafless trees.
A small fire to keep us warm,
I hold your heart in my hand.

You run with the fire of life
and of joy.
I pick up the pieces,
humbly loving your spirit.
You fly in the wind,
threatening to leave,
but your warmth and goodness
keeps you here with me.

Such a big heart determined to race,
round corners,
round bends,
and back from the moon.
“It’s such a big, big world,”
I whisper in your ear,
“The world’s not ready
for you to disappear, yet.”

On we must trot or night will
gobble us all–
Once again,
I shoulder your heart,
Your soul is nestled,
And my heart is full.
But what about days,
when I’m left all alone, dear?
I want you to stay,
to be here with me forever.

The tortoise has slowed to
walk us to safety,
The bucking moose has lent us
his powerful antlers,
The crows scream in murders
to frighten the night.

I hold you in my arms
as tears slip away,
We walk into the warmth
of the hearth and the home,
We drink teas and snack on
honeyed-peanut butter;
Raspberries for tortoise,
Grass for dear moose,
Charms for the crows,
who resent the implication.

Let’s slip into the darkness,
the safe one with dreams,
where it is okay that less
is more than it seems.

 

–fin

Links: http://poets.ca/2016/02/08/national-poetry-month-2016/


Heaps of love,

wordplay xx

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¶ Sweetest Spring and Evergreens ⎟ PEA

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There is a gentle breeze
That ruffles dreams;
It smells of sweetest spring
and evergreens.
It never wavers but
Kisses cherubic, weightless clouds,
and stimulates subtle
memory.

Hold your hand up to its path,
Feel your spindly fingers dance,
Light as thoughts,
Free as love,
Comfort, and mindful serenity.
Smell its past and lingering tales
as you fully breathe
your mortality.

Sun streams through lashes
and closing eyes,
Whilst laughter churns from
deep within.
Light as air and happy child,
Who’d have thought,
it was just air?

The earth sighs in meditative
suspiration, as we move around
the galaxy.
The stars are past,
as we are passed,
and dust settles over youth
quite fast.

In times of old, and times
to come, the breeze sets sail
as souls swim by,
Raise your hand
up to their path,
They make your fingers dance
as they sing
‘Good Day’!

Relax into grass, that
folds beneath you.
Listen as it crumples.
Millions of tiny springs,
that support your body
and usher in new life.
Breathe in the breeze
that tariffs dulcet tones,
and passes them onto
abject pilgrims.

There was a day,
when you were sad,
but honeyed hues coloured
your hearing eyes;
Recall the dreams
Of weightless flight, and
dream sweet dreams,
my dear, tonight.

–fin

Links: http://poets.ca/2016/02/08/national-poetry-month-2016/


Heaps of love,

wordplay xx

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¶ No Poem 5 April ⎟ PEA

Dear Reader,

Sorry about missing a poem yesterday. Misha threw up in the morning, and we were worried it might be indicative of something worse because she is nearly 13. It seems that she was okay after she had a good sleep, but we were a bit stressed out. I didn’t have my computer until really late in the evening, and, by then, I was REALLY tired. So, I think I will leave this post sweet and short and include today’s poem in a following post.

Thank you for your understanding and compassion.

Heaps of Love,
wordplay Xx

 

 

In Time, You’ll Be⎟ PEA

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Sometimes, there is lack,
A lack that likes to remind you it’s there,
It wants to be acknowledged, nurtured, and loved.
But sometimes you want to ignore
the lack.
Getting over it has a knack,
It’s a skill I lack.

Sometimes, there is a wound,
Salt and dirt live there,
They dance to the beat of my heart,
As it works
furiously to heal.
But on, they dance.

Often, there is a hush,
It comes in slowly,
It never leaves in a rush.
You may have time to fill your lungs,
Or scream out your anger
So loud your voice cracks.

Often, there is a dream,
Frequently ignored;
to be suppressed by the lack,
that makes its home
crushing your heart.

Some days, there is an itch,
When you scratch,
you bruise skin,
The outer shell cracks,
And leaves you grim.
Plaster yourself back together,
Make yourself whole again.

Some days, there is a tiredness,
It hides under darkened eyes,
It announces itself with a depressed
lions roar.
You fuel yourself with coffees,
Snack on cakes, and sweet  teas,
Sometimes, those are the best days.

One day, there might be a sun beam,
That shines on your heart,
It sends growth throughout your soul,
It lightens your load,
It fills your lack,
So it feels more like
a history
that’s past.

One day, there will be lines,
That mark your path,
Engraved upon your thin
skin.
Lines, counted, reveal your
capacity to love
and the rich stories,
that you sink into as you fall
asleep.

–fin

Links: http://poets.ca/2016/02/08/national-poetry-month-2016/

 


Heaps of love,

wordplay xx

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That of which I am made ⎟ PEA 2016

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I’m just not feeling it,
As you dance to the chart-hit,
Your smile is misleading,
And it’s you I am needing,
But your eyes sway faster
Than hips, who’re you after?

If I leave now,
And you, I disavow,
Will I lose myself,
As I detach from yourself?
Will I break into pieces,
My new heart a prosthesis?

Coz your hunger increases,
As my self-worth decreases,

You crook your finger at me,
I smile; I dare not flee,
For your spell catches my knees,
You’re my addiction, my disease;
You look into my eyes,
I tremble through your lies:

You whisper love and desire,
I’ll surely burn on this pyre,
Barely holding onto life,
As you plunge in the knife,
Twisting and turning its tip,
With a fast and strong grip,

Your hips sway to the beat,
Your voice is so sweet,
But I’m just not feeling it,
As you dance to the chart-hit.

I want a new chance,
I, too, want to dance,
With joy and freedom
and equality,
With a them that is them,
and a me that is free,

So I push off your hold,
Daring for freedom is rather bold,
Alas, I breathe nectar of sugared hope,
Glad to be untethered, cut free, from the rope
That tied me down, like a lead-weighted
balloon, anxiety and depression slowly abated,

I swim in the ocean,
Healed by a magical self-taught potion,
Laced with one’s sovereignty,
Happiness by degrees,
Ginger and spice,
And everything nice…

That’s what little girls are made of.

 

Poetry Month ⎟ Poem Everyday in April (PEA)

Dear Reader,

I haven’t uploaded any poems lately, which is unusual for me because I normally write quite a lot. In Canada, April is National Poetry Month. I am going to be posting one poem a day, *crosses fingers*, alongside my posts on Great Expectations. If it gets confusing, just follow the menu at the top of the page; it should help you find you way. I’m just imagining a Homeward Bound scene where my beloved animals search for me, against peril and the sadness of losing their human. Poor poopehs. My pup is currently snoozing on my bed. (P.S she fell off my bed last night, whilst rearranging her blankets. I don’t even know what woke me up, the fall or her crying to be let back up. Apparently, my decorating skills are flawed. Misha will educate me from here on out).

In honour of the little baby-face, I will write a limerick about her.

The Mishanator

There once was a shitzu called Misha,
She won’t fetch, but she gives paw,
She loves to sleep in my, or is it her, bed,
From top to bottom is her tiny form spread,
For possession is 9/10ths property law.

IMG_7748

Heaps of love,

wordplay xx

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Great Expectations ⎟ Pip’s ‘sympathetic’ narration

 

great expectations Pip's 'sympathetic' narrations

Dear Reader,

I have read the first two months worth of Great Expectations [on page 132/457]. I have begun reading the third month’s releases, and I have to say, Dickens is really great at the cliff-hanger. I intended to do reviews based on each section, but I now consider it might be a bit dull to just garble plot at you. I want to do some character sketches on Miss Havisham and Mrs Joe Gargery; I want to pick out the ways women, femininity, and the disavowal of woman-ness (ooooo, such a loaded invented term) is treated by Dickens and our narrator, Pip. I know that I am going to want to include Estella and Biddy, too, so I thought that I would finish my re-read before I endeavoured that task.

I’ve read to the part where Mrs Joe has been attacked by Orlick? Did he? Didn’t he? Orlick enrages me because he is that person that reverses Mrs Joe’s nature so she becomes this ideal Victorian woman in the domestic sphere, who causes no strife. Except, now she is unable to tend to the house. I suppose the point is, throughout the beginning of the novel, that Mrs Joe does very little. But that is how Pip represents Mrs Joe to us, and we have to consider Pip’s narrative unreliable. I mean, food just appears in front of Pip at Christmas without much thought given to how much work Mrs Joe put into making the meal. We are given other clues to draw the conclusion of Pip’s unreliability; when he is asked to re-tell his experiences to adults, he does not give truthful accounts that coincide to what we’ve previously been told. Consider, for example, when he describes his visit to Miss Havisham’s to Mrs Joe and Mr Pumblechook very differently than what he describes to us. Later, he confesses to Joe that he made up what actually happened. Throughout these early sections, Pip is often afraid to confess to the truth or tell Joe things because he is afraid he will not be believed because of his past indiscretions.  We should keep this in mind.

That Pip confesses his lies to the adults to us works to convince the reader that we are getting the honest narration from Pip. We sympathise, or empathise depending on how well the effect works, with being young and being misunderstood or the anxiety of having to relay our experiences when in the past we’ve not been entirely honest or truthful. Thus, when Pip describes Miss Havisham, thus far, we really only get his account. Mr Pumblechook, when he offers Pip to Miss Havisham, says he has not met her. He cannot give an account of her personal character other than what he has learnt through others, including what Pip will tell him. Joe, who does meet Miss H, does not even respond to her. He does not give an account of her to collude with Pip’s description of her in a decayed wedding dress with spiders emerging from the black hole that is her wedding cake (obviously Joe did not witness this peculiarity, but the point still stands). We take Pip’s word that Miss H is what she is.

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via tumblr

The narration functions such that we are meant to identify with Pip. And, I think that the reason many people dislike Pip is because, perhaps, they do not identify with him–so they find him unreliable, annoying, prone to terrible choices, and a bit whiney. So, I thought my earlier reluctance to re-read Great Expectations was me just being fickle to this Dickensian experience, but I think it has to do more with the ways my skills of empathy have shifted; I remove myself from Pip and his actions, rather than trying to identify with him. Of course, there are things I do identify with, and that’s what makes Dickens so clever–it’s hard to untangle the web. So, perhaps, those readers who find the book dull or difficult to read are just not convinced by Pip and the story he is telling.

Thus, an ongoing thread of discussion that I will maintain throughout this series on Great Expectations is Pip’s narration. Pip does share politely embarrassing accounts of his youth. The story with the convict will become a formative part of the plot and Pip’s (false-)actualization of being a gentleman, but he does share his role in aiding said convict to escape. He thieves from his brother-in-law, Joe, and takes the Christmas pork pie, and gives it to the escaped man. These are fairly damning acts. But they are also the acts of a child, who is alone, afraid, and who has no person(s) but us to confide (as an adult). That is something we need to remember, Pip, as a child, would not have had the language to articulate how and what he feels the way he is able to describe as an educated adult, reflecting. Joe, thus, becomes a foil to Pip’s self-expression. And we should take note of the way that Joe narrates his past (as told to us by Pip) and how Pip expresses his own sense of growing up, coming of age, and years of formulation.

If we need a clear sense of Pip’s inability to express himself, when he is young, we need to look no further than his shyness around Miss Havisham and Estella. The older Pip clads his narrative by explaining that he was gaining a consciousness of his lowly class, but younger Pip is quiet, shy, and rather upset. When he is left alone after this first encounter, he cries. He cannot verbally express his emotions, so we are told that he was overwrought. Tears are important here, too, to contrast Estella’s learned hardness, crafted and fuelled by Miss H, with Pip’s emotional display that enhances his softness and vulnerability. Pip defends his display of emotions in the description of his next visit, when he encounters the young boy who encourages him to fight him. Pip easily wins the fight against this physically soft young man. Thus, we get the older Pip forming his younger self as wronged by a particular kind of femininity that is wrong but more masculine than the supposedly genteel, young man, who performs a false masculinity and cannot defend himself against Pip. Even in this encounter, Pip cannot communicate to the other boy what he feels. He simply does what he is told to do. It is the elder Pip who constructs and contrasts the characteristics of other persons to inform us how we should read and relate to him and his story.

Alright, reader, I had better get back to reading more about Pip. Let me know what you’re reading and what you think about it in the comments. 

Heaps of love,

wordplay xx

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Great Expectations ⎟ Materiality of the Book & Serialization

great expectations - materiality of the book & serialization

I called this project Serial because of the serialization of Dickens’s novels. Serialization is really fascinating; I would describe it as being akin to the scheduled release of television shows. In fact, that is *definitely* the origin of the filmic medium. And, that, to me, is absolutely hilarious—can we all share a group chuckle? I don’t know why I find it so peculiar; we often use analogy to describe things that are historical or out of our current experience, but I just love the idea that the serialization of novels/fictions is how we consume cinematic/filmic media instalments of television shows. I imagine that DVD collections, Netflix, and other streaming services that offer all of the episodes would be akin to the publication of the whole book. Would I carry around a boxed-set of DVDs? Maybe. Like, if it was Harry Potter or The West Wing or Poirot, mais oui, but of course!

Great Expectations was published in 35 parts from 1 December 1860 to 3 August 1861 in All the Year Round, a magazine of which Dickens owned the majority holdings. It was also published in the U.S by Harper’s Weekly.

  1. December 1860 had 5 parts released, consisting of chapters 1-8.
  2. January 1861 had 4 parts released, consisting of chapters 9-15.
  3. February had 3 parts released, consisting of chapters 16-21.
  4.  March had 5 parts released, consisting of chapters 22-29.
  5. April had 4 parts released, consisting of chapters 30-37.
  6. May had 4 parts released, consisting of chapters 38-42.
  7. June had 5 parts released, consisting of chapters 43-52.
  8. July had 4 parts released, consisting of chapters 53-57.
  9. August had 1 part released, consisting of chapters 58-59.

Rather than follow each part’s release date, which would leave me with 35 posts on Great Expectations, [Bah, said Scrooge, Humbug///]. I will go by the monthly releases, which should give me about 8-9 plot-driven discussions, with space to add a few more posts or not, to talk about things that I feel I’ve over-looked or about which I’ve changed my mind.

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First serial of Great Expectations. Courtesy of: George C. Gordon Library.

Let’s consider how the release of the parts of the novel in serial form make the work more digestible and approachable for a reader. According to Robert Patten in Charles Dickens and His Publishers, about 100,000 copies of All the Year Round sold each week. The portability of the magazine meant that it could be shared, meaning that, although 100,000 copies sold each week, the readership was much higher. Dickens’s stories were read aloud in groups, shared, and, I like to imagine, pilfered by unsuspecting readers in coffee shops, the most dubious of public spheres. That is a lot of readers, particularly in an age (in Britain) where literacy was inconsistent. 

I think that most of the reason readers don’t pick up Dickens’s works is because of how large they are. But imagine, not watching Orange is the New Black because there are TOO MANY episodes, without SENSE, am I right? The hand-held, portability of the magazine serialization made Dickens’s words travel, across space, classes, and nations. I love to imagine the sheer volume of Dickens’s words travelling across London as rail travel made living out of the city viable and desirable, John Wemmick, a character in this very story, for example. Work on the Tube, as it is known now, began in 1860, as the Metropolitan Railway, from Paddington toe Farringdon Street. That is something we should also remember when reading Dickens. Just as we are attached to new and developing technology, advances are also to be noted and found in Dickens’s works. We might not notice them because they have existed for us for all time, but railways and travel by rail was a huge topic of debate. Let’s not forget that the railway in Tolstoy stood for the dangers of modernity, the artifice of women (such as in Anna Karenina). 

So we’ve noted that Dickens’s words were portable. The heavy tomes that we now, lovingly, lug around in handbags or saddlebags, whichever your fancy, were not the same that its original readers experiences. Indeed, collated publications of Dickens’s novels usually occurred within the year of its last serial publication. So, they did exist in his time. Today, I sometimes think that the books we read in public also dictate to other people information that we may or may not want to share about ourselves. Like the clothes we wear and the airs we adopt, the public face of reading also indicates things about us to other people. I’m not sure I have any conclusions to draw about this at this time, but it’s something to consider about the books we read, where we read them, and their visibility.

Let’s also take a moment to think about the illustrations of Dickens’s novels. My edition does not have any illustrations, which is such a loss. It doesn’t make the book more adult when you remove the illustrations!!!! I love that Dickens’s stories had accompanying illustrations. I think that the visual world offered by these illustrations gives so much more to the text. It opens a space for more information and different interpretations of the texts. It also provides information that less literate or less-well-read readers can use to piece together information. Since, my edition doesn’t have illustrations, I am going to have to align them when I’m reading. From a cursory examination of the original publications, the illustrations were a later addition. So, I forgive Barnes and Noble their lack of illustrations–not. Ahah! The original illustrations were completed by Frank Stone in 1862; he completed eight for the Library Edition. Later illustrators include F.A Fraser, John Mclennan, Sol Eytinge Jr., and Henry Mathew Brock. 

The serialization of the novel also permits the author to employ cliffhangers and other plot techniques to keep the reader hooked. This might make the work seem to be fighting for your attention, or to have artificial highs and lows, but it also means that the author has to work hard to keep the story gripping and engaging because, if nineteenth-century readers are anything like me, I always forget to tune in next week to find out what happens. Luckily, I have the internet to sort that out. But, I also think that as the member of a very small family (there is only 4 of us AT ALL), with friends strewn across the world, I have an experience that means I hear about a lot less things on a daily basis, compared to when I was in high school or at uni. 

I love the disparity between our experience with Dickens as somewhat unapproachable and out of touch–his books are big AF and his language is complex and full of allusions and his experiences and those of his contemporaries. I am sure that many allusions flew over people’s heads, as they do mine, but that’s part of reading and all creative media. I mean, when I was about 12 and I tried to read Little Dorrit I had no idea what the heck a Marseilles was, turns out it’s a place–HAHA. But because I didn’t know it, it made me want to know it. So, I lived life, and when I learnt that Marseilles was a place, I got it more. And, later, as I learnt history and ideas of nationality and character, I got that the story started outside England in a very meaningful way–but we’ll get to Little Dorrit a little later. Spoiler: IT IS MY FAVOURITE DICKENS *jumps up an down like an over-excited toddler*

Heaps of love,

wordplay xx

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