423b2e
423b2e

8.31.2010

erin belieu, poet


Cornfield by Maureen Warren


LAST TRIP TO THE ISLAND

You're mad that I can't love the ocean,

but I've come to this world landlocked
and some bodies feel permanently strange.
Like any foreign language, study it too late and
it never sticks. Anyway,

we're here aren't we? —
trudging up the sand, the water churning
its constant horny noise, an openmouthed heavy

breathing made more unnerving by
the presence of all these families, the toddlers

with their chapped bottoms, the fathers
in gigantic trunks spreading out their dopey
circus-colored gear.

How can anyone relax
near something so worked up all the time?

I know the ocean is glamorous,
but the hypnosis, the dilated pull of it, feels

impossible to resist. And what better reason to
resist? I'm most comfortable in

a field, a yellow-eared patch
of cereal, whose quiet rustling argues for
the underrated valor of discretion.

And above this, I admire a certain quality of
sky, like an older woman who wears her jewels with
an air of distance, that is, lightly,
with the right attitude. Unlike your ocean,

there's nothing sneaky about a field. I like their
ugly-girl frankness. I like that, sitting in the dirt,

I can hear what's coming between the stalks.

~by Erin Belieu


The following is excerpted from her interview at 'How a Poem Happens'


Do you believe in inspiration? How much of this poem was “received” and how much was the result of sweat and tears?

I do believe in inspiration, but really, inspiration and $1.50 is worth a cup of coffee. Everybody’s inspired, aren’t they? It’s getting it on the page where the ditch digging begins. So I carried around this idea about how I wanted to write a poem about how much I mistrust the ocean and how uncomfortable I feel when I go to the beach—any redheaded freckled people who might be reading this know what I’m talking about—and it took some years before the notion gelled with a scene and point-of-view and argument. That vague idea needed an occasion and a stance. So ideas are like asses: everybody has one. I guess I think all the various elements have to gather together and you almost always have to sweat for those. Sometimes you win the poem lottery, but for me the muse doesn’t hand out the free samples very often.

xxx

10 comments:

goatman said...

Apparently so . . . but muse does not depend upon GPS, at least not mine.

soubriquet said...

Ideas are like asses?
I may be something of a donkey, but Im not sure I'm impressed by her line, there.

I did like the poem's imagery, so far from my own love of the sea. Whereas cornfields can be sinister places. Her cornfields, I suspect, are maize. My cornfields were wheat and barley. Still, I always kinda distrust places where i can't see what's coming. That's why I never sit with my back toward the door. Mind you, as cornfields have no door, that's probably why they give me a feeling of unease.
The sea, you see, makes no bones about its treacherous nature, it roars and ripples, you know it can drown you, dash you against the rocks, swirl you under. There's no subterfuge.
Whereas a cornfield? Who knows what it's thinking?

red dirt girl said...

my own muse, Goatman, has been on a verrrry long holiday ... hmmm. i wonder if i've been ditched for someone more prolific ?
xxx

red dirt girl said...

i think your comment, Soubry, is a poem itself. i love the idea of not knowing what a cornfield is thinking ....and the fact that it has no doors. so hows 'bout i give you the buck/fifty for coffee and you rustle up a poem for me, eh? (don't laugh. i'm trying to play muse here.)
xxx

soubriquet said...

In the Treacherous Cornfield,

I
Am
Sitting
Parched,
Too
Far
Inland.
Corn
Field.
Ominous.
Bored.
Dreaming
Of the
Sea.

Scuffing heels,
Dry,
Dusty
Soil.
Drowsy.
Quiet hum,
Rustle,
Unseen,
A million
Insects,
Buzzing,
Swarming,
Mating,
Wanting my blood.
Unseen,
Harvest mice,
Cornfield rat,
Dry-bone scarecrow.
Watching

Me.

Listen:
Engines roar
Gears rumble.
Smell:
Hot oil,
Exhaust smoke.

Soon.
Soon.

Just wait,
Cornfield.

The tide's

Coming

In.

soubriquet said...

I'm in the cornfield, my back to the door.

Hey!

Did
That
Bale

Move?

red dirt girl said...

Soubry !!!! BRAVISSIMO!! applause, applause. So gratifying to witness a poet born. Love the line The tide's coming in. Your second poem - wow, now he's prolific - Me, laughing !!! especially considering the news on your blog. Surely you meant to write HAY! instead of HEY! No?? mwahaaa! A good poem makes you smile. Well done.
xxxx

soubriquet said...

Hay?
I thought you were a country girl.
What would a hay bale be doing in a corn fIELD?

When I turn my back,
The bales-
Move

soubriquet said...

field?

red dirt girl said...

acting as mulch ... that's what i get for attempting a corny joke ... HA!
xxx