Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Garden of Poetry: A Poem a Day

            Just what you needed! -- Another poem. An online literary journal called "The Rain, Party, & Disaster Society" accepts new poems for publication each month and then follows the unique practice of publishing one new piece each weekday throughout the month.
            The editors send contributors a calendar so we'll know when to expect our poem to show up on the site. And, as they optimistically put the matter, so we can share this information with "your family, friends and followers." The word 'followers' always has a sort of cultish ring for me, but I understand it has a more precise meaning in the online universe for us bloggers and other virtual life forms.
            Anyway, my poem, titled "Commanding the Sun," will appear on the journal's website on Monday, Feb. 9, at 8 a.m. (I'm hoping it will stay up there for a while as well.)
            This poem comes directly from the garden. It imagines every man as a "sun king." One of the slogans of the French Revolution was "Every man a king" and of course the most powerful of the French monarchs, Louis XIV, was called the "Sun King." Then the poem goes on to suggest, more or less indirectly, that everyone who seeks to follow the advice of Voltaire -- cultiver son jardin; "grow your own garden" -- is also attempting to 'command the sun.' No sun, no garden.
            I noticed one line "Hence, rude thoughts of winter!" that has some particular (though unintended) relevance to our current condition. I wrote the poem at the time of year that falls almost exactly opposite to where we are now in the cycle of the seasons. Six months from now we will again be sitting in our gardens, wherever we find them, perhaps imagining under the spell of that balmy time of year that we 'command the sun,' when of course it is always the other way around.
            Here's the link to the place where you will be able to find the poem:

            The photo I've included here pretty much sums up the time of year when, for me at least, it feels like the sun is in its heaven and all is right with the world. As, in some fundamental way, it always is; though it's surely a lot harder to feel that way underneath four feet of snow.
            Anyway, thanks for listening.