Last night’s SEP held some very old pieces. Laurie sweetly asked when she could expect me to unravel the conundrum left at the end of the post. I replied with today.
Somewhere in the M3 archives is the answer to the question, What do the numbers at the ends of the poems mean? No, there will be no link to the answer, as I am unwilling to search through the more than 12, 000 comments to find it. Each line of numbers represents the date and time (respectively) the poems were completed.
Over the course of the decades, I have memories of some which were not single day productions. These days, rather than test my memory any further, I merely make notes in Mantra’s notebook when a poem takes more than 24 hours to complete. The notes will make it easier to find the mood and the analysis when we use one of John’s creations.
Way Back Machine
To understand Wishes, we need to ride back two and an half decades. The poem was born in 1987.
Have you ever seen a comet? Shooting stars are one of many astronomical events which capture imagination. The superstition of wishing upon them traverses centuries.
What happens when you see one, but have no idea what to wish? As the tail of the comet fades, you fumble for something, anything, to wish happiness into your life.
Thought intrudes. The moment is being lost because you are consumed by thoughts, conscious thoughts, rather than the dreamy whimsy of wishes. The thought is determined it is more important than the silly happiness of which you dream.
It demands your attention. Your heart backs up that intrusive thought by validating it with emotion. Together, they are callous to your inner child’s desire to wish and dream of bright futures and happy tomorrows. They burn up the portion of the mind capable of such wishful thinking.
Once the wish and the thought pass, you are left with the idea you should have wished not to be so burdened with thought. A moment of clarity appears which harkens to your logic. The wish never made can never be denied.
Wishes could just as easily borne the title Self Preservation.
A Small Jump
We are only going to jump a puddle to get to 1991. Deadly Thoughts got its name from readers who initially believed the poem was about suicide. Poetry may be in the eye of the beholder, but the writer was on a completely different wavelength.
Before making a life-changing decision, one should always contemplate the long term ramifications of the choice, both for oneself and others. These are the questions of the middle stanza. Typically, they are associated with an end of life scenario and the making of a will. Hence, the speculation the poem is about suicide. Consider this one a mulligan.
From the writer’s standpoint, this poem is about ending a situation which has gone badly. The questions merely seek to assure no loose ends remain after departure. There is a wistfulness because some will be left behind.
The cigarettes and the melting of the candle serve no other purpose than to meter the time. The decisions of the poem do not hurry, but are carefully thought out before action can begin. To be safe, a good night’s sleep follows the decision. Things often look different in the morning.
As a personal aside, this poem was written in contemplation of ending an abusive relationship.
Deadly Thoughts would have been easily titled Plotting.
The Fly Over
Our time travel to the last poem brings us into this century, 2010, to be exact. Touch of Happiness brings a wry smile. The knowing of a secret, sweet memory only one other person knows.
The gifts left behind are the everyday cares, the favors, the work, all the things we offer to others. They are all the things which bring looks of concentration, those things to which we must pay attention.
In moments of happiness, our foreheads are smooth, our cheeks supple, our eyelids not wide, our lips curled just so into a grin. The soft look is one which bears no worries.
The offer to share the happiness is the embrace against which there is no intrusion. The entire rest of the world ceases to exist. Bliss envelopes the souls under a canopy of stars and cool moonlight.
When the dawn comes with its rose-colored glasses and claims of shedding the light of joy, the dream lingers on the mind behind the wry smile which has known just a touch of carefree happiness.
Touch of Happiness almost fits this one. While not one of the better titles, it is far superior to the outside-influenced, retrofitted titles of the other two poems.
End of the Line
I hope you have enjoyed our ride in the way back machine. Many thanks to the Aware Writer for letting us borrow it. If you enjoyed our trip, thank Laurie for buying the tickets. She was curious as to my take on the matter.
Did you get anything at all similar to the poetry analysis here? Have you reread the poems to see if you can see the author’s point of view? Are you having a good Memorial Day weekend?