Constant Reader discussion

29 views
Poetry > Sept 26 - Elegy for Robert Creeley and Pope John Paul II, Dead Three Days Apart - Tom C. Hunley

Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Ruth (last edited Sep 26, 2009 09:50AM) (new)

Ruth | 9305 comments

Tom C. Hunley is an assistant professor of English at Western Kentucky University and the director of Steel Toe Books. He is the author of two previous full-length poetry collections, three chapbooks, and a book of essays about creative writing pedagogy. He has a blog at http://theplumblineschool.blogspot.co... . His book of poems about new fatherhood, Octopus, won the Holland prize and was published by Logan House Press in 2008.

Elegy for Robert Creeley and Pope John Paul II, Dead Three Days Apart
-----Tom C. Hunley

Something dramatic is going to happen to me soon.
I feel myself and the whole world reset
to slow motion, and the hotel room I'm in
holds its breath. I see pigeons scatter
and clap their wings. I hear slow, operatic music,
and I feel scores of invisible fingers
fumbling at the threads that hold me together.
The black clouds outside are pregnant women
approaching labor, and as the sunspot
disappears from my carpet, I understand
that every godforsaken thing in this luminous world
will drift away, cloudlike;
as I slow-motion my way
to the window, the birds circle.
I see my hotel mirrored in the windows of another hotel,
and I see 10,000 people, vigilant outside my window.
They shout that I'm the next pope,
they toss up prayers and pigeons,
and a few detractors shout that I should jump.
The world speeds up again, like windswirling
leaves, and the crowd scatters in all directions
as if to say oh, you're a poet, not the pope, our mistake,
determined not to notice me, even while I open the window and bellow:
my body is breaking down, too;
my spirit, too, will soon drift far, far off,
and all of you, too, you too.
Pope John Paul II, pray for us.
Robert Creeley too.




message 2: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (Melissaharl) | 1421 comments I feel scores of invisible fingers / fumbling at the threads that hold me together .

I can feel that with him, amazing.


message 3: by Beej (last edited Sep 26, 2009 03:23PM) (new)

Beej | 928 comments Wow, what a remarkable poem. I love the play on words; pigeons scatter, so does the crowd. All like a windwhirling world. He hears slow operatic music, and then in the next line, SCORES of invisible fingers
fumbling at the threads that hold him together,,but later, his body is breaking apart. The luminous world drifts away cloudlike.. All these opposites, metaphors, etc...I bet he had fun writing this.


message 4: by Ken (new)

Ken | 834 comments Sad to say, I don't know who Robert Creeley is. Kind of detracts from the poem, that -- especially that last line (which seems oh, so superfluous).


message 5: by Sherry, Doyenne (last edited Sep 27, 2009 05:39AM) (new)

Sherry | 7472 comments I don't know what that is either, Newengland, but I did like the rest of the poem, especially
The black clouds outside are pregnant women
approaching labor
.




message 6: by Jim (new)

Jim | 491 comments I suppose that all you really need to know about Robert Creeley is that he was a poet who lived into his 70s and who was highly supportive of younger poets.

And since he taught at Black Mountain College in the 50s, he is a part of the natural aristocracy made up of those who have lived in the Asheville area. Reason enough to be celebrated.




message 7: by Felix (new)

Felix (felix_g_miller) | 58 comments I liked this poem, for the tumbling, swirling images and the ironic tone underneath lines like:

and a few detractors shout that I should jump.

I laughed at that.

The lines,

..........................I understand
that every godforsaken thing in this luminous world
will drift away, cloudlike;


prompted thought, not laughter. Hits home, as I grow older.

Pope John Paul II, pray for us.
Robert Creeley too.


Those two concluding lines I thought were deliberately ambivalent - the Pope is entreated to pray for us. Then Creeley is added, but as another supplicant, or as another intercessor for us, like the Pope?



message 8: by Rosana (new)

Rosana | 599 comments I did not know who Creeley was either, but the whole poem speaks to me of immense grief; grief so painful, it “reset the world to slow motion” and “fumbles at the threads that hold me together”.

Something dramatic is going to happen to me soon.
I feel myself and the whole world reset
to slow motion, and the hotel room I'm in
holds its breath. I see pigeons scatter
and clap their wings. I hear slow, operatic music,
and I feel scores of invisible fingers
fumbling at the threads that hold me together.


This poem also made me think of the death of “our” heroes/mentors and how orphaned we are without them:

my body is breaking down, too;
my spirit, too, will soon drift far, far off,
and all of you, too, you too.


Poignant!



message 9: by Rosana (new)

Rosana | 599 comments Those two concluding lines I thought were deliberately ambivalent - the Pope is entreated to pray for us. Then Creeley is added, but as another supplicant, or as another intercessor for us, like the Pope?

Felix, the way I read it, he does compare John Paul II and Creeley, equating them.


back to top

unread topics | mark unread