Sunday, February 5, 2012

Poetics: prism light

It is simply an old cut-glass lamp that has been a light in my life for as long as I can remember (and may be why the first word I spoke—according to my mother, the original owner of the lamp—was "light").

It gives light when its plug is pushed into a silly face on the wall. The new plug and cord were installed after the old rayon fabric-covered cord split and frayed, exposing arteries and veins where currents traveled for decades.

It receives light when the sacred sun of light spies it in mid-winter meditation on the kitchen counter.

It uses light to display colors and has never needed a plug to create such bright magic.

An immobile object, it can change the speed of light. It is straight and solid but a light beam may use it as a conduit for bending its path.

Manmade, it makes what man cannot. For such a little thing, only ten inches tall, it is the height of composure, clarity, and cleverness. This is one dignified show-off.

Silently, it resonates with the songs of the rainbow, if only for flashes in time—eons of neon.

When the moments of my life fade to dark, smash this prism and scatter its shards with my ashes to ashes, dust to light.

Submitted for Poetics at dVerse Poets. This week we are prompted by Mark Kerstetter to consider the form of poetic expression best expressed in the works of the great French writer Francis Ponge (see examples at the link):
 . . .  focus on an object in your environment, preferably an object from the natural world, to really examine it, to try and see it with utmost clarity, and to wait for the word, that first word or phrase that seems to capture, for you, the essence, in language, of that object. Then use that word or phrase to construct a poem that gives a voice to that thing.

[Photos in this post taken in my kitchen and office today while I was pondering what object I might try to describe.........]



YogaforCynics said...


Brian Miller said...

man made it makes what men can not...nice juxtaposition there....nice making it personal there withe the last wishes for it to...

Rob-bear said...

An en-light-ening post, Lydia.

I also noted the phrase which Brian quoted above.

We have some small prismatic crystals in our place. But they are pretty small, and don't have the influence that they once did when they were in a more prominent location. In a long-gone home.

ds said...

I like "manmade it makes what man cannot" too. You take an object that has great personal significance for you and make it a universal. The smashing at the end is brilliant. Thank you.

Muhammad Israr said...

absolutely marvelous...i think you should be hired by one of the lamp manufacturing companies as Head of Marketing :p
very well preserved lamp that looks like... hope it will continue to spread light as it has done all its life :)

bookmanie said...

Interesting post.
I would like to try to take a photo of the smoke of cigarette in a dark room.
I know a artist who made that. The result was marvellous too. Some forms appear.
I like to see some marvellous things in my life. It can be a person like you, it can be lots of things.
It's my "aventure", not for the sensation, but to be close to the marvellous.

Indigo said...

To find such pleasure and beauty in the simplest things, is a true gift of the heart. (Hugs)Indigo

Mark Kerstetter said...

Thank you for for this beautiful response to the prompt. I feel this object's irreplaceable presence in your life. Lines like

"Manmade, it makes what man cannot. For such a little thing, only ten inches tall, it is the height of composure, clarity, and cleverness. This is one dignified show-off."

could have been written by Ponge himself.

I also read the bio in your profile - really liked it.

Looking to the Stars said...

Wow, this is a beautiful post. You did a wonderful post, of course you always do :)

hedgewitch said...

I love the way your words do the same thing the photos do--show exactly why this lamp has meaning intrinsic to itself. Not just a great prompt response, but an excellent poem as well.

Kay McKenzie Cooke said...

I love this!

Barbara/myth maker said...

Wonderfull post. Made me want to go and find an object to write about myself.
Thanks so much for visiting my blog yesterday, and leaving such a nice comment.

Lydia said...

YogaforCynics~ Thanks for your far-out comment. :)

Brian~ Thanks for the mention of juxtaposition, etc. :)

Rob-bear~ Nice work with the word enlightenment! I bet your crystals miss that long-ago home...

ds~ I found your comment to be quite smashing!

Muhammad Israr~ Thank you. I hope the light lasts many more years too, and I have no doubt that it will...barring an earthquake or such.

bookmanie~ Your photography project sounds fascinating to me. I hope you do it. Your mind works and turns in wonderful ways!

Indigo~ You are so sweet to say that. Many thanks.

Mark Kerstetter~ I am extremely honored by your comment. The prompt you gave at dVerse was just wonderful and I thank you for it, most genuinely.

Looking to the Stars~ Thank you for always being so kind to me. I have wondered how you have been with the snowstorm last week? Hope all is well.

hedgewitch~ Your comment means so much to me. Thank you ever so.

Kay~ Hello! And thank you!

Barbara/myth maker~ It was my pleasure, most definitely! I hope you write your piece about an object, and suggest that you follow the link in my post to Mark's original full post at dVerse Poets. It is worth the visit.:)

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

i love the writing in this and the shot of the light refracting

izzy said...

Hey, Haven't talked with you in a week- so I stopped by. I love this meditation on your lamp.I agree with your ending!
Recently I found a blob of glass in my barn- I have NO idea what it came from originally. After studying it for a moment it reminds me of a human heart! You could smash and break it with a hammer- ( did you ever fry marbles as a kid?)-once a marble shattered inside, but held together as a whole.... very weird.

Brian Miller said...

hey you...thanks for dropping in over night...hope you are well...

Laurie Kolp said...

This is absolutely beautiful... and the prism appeared so you could write about the light!

Lydia said...

Pixies~ Many thanks. It was a little gift in the afternoon. :)

izzy~ A "blob" of glass, eh? How strange and wonderful it sounds!
No, I never fried marbles and it sounds fascinating. I had a marvelous bag of antique marbles that belonged to one of my uncles when he was a boy and I treasured them. They were stolen from me by a step-brother who lived with us for a short time. I mourned the loss, still do. :(

Brian~ I am well, and how about you? Have you recovered from your cold/flu that kept you couch-bound for a bit? I hope so.

Laurie Kolp~ Thank you. Yes, it did and I was most delighted. :)



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