44 responses »

  1. Oh just lovely. I love the idea of being ‘drunk on grapefruit flower air’. Your posts so often evoke memories for me or lead me into babbling out long stories. Are you sitting comfortably? πŸ˜„

    Drinking the grapefruit flower air is about as far as I can get re grapefruit. And I love it! I mean, really love it! But seven years ago when I had an ‘episode’ with a dragging leg, I was admitted to hospital and the experts thought I had had a TIA, a kind of mini stroke. So I was put on a statin drug. Now they are convinced it was an MS attack (pre diagnosis) but have left me on statins as a precaution.
    Consequently I cannot eat grapefruit as it inhibits the efficacy of an important enzyme, thus causing all sorts of potentially serious problems, all of which information is likely to make one scream at the mere sight off this wonderful fruit! 😊 – You can wake up now Cynthia πŸ˜„

    • Zzz…uh..er…where am I? Oh, hi Chris. I just had a dream about you and forbidden fruit. It was all very real!
      All kidding aside, I have heard about that business with statins and grapefruit. Fellow blogger, Cindy Knoke set me onto this little poem with her sumptuous photos of fat bees and blossoms on grapefruit trees at her “holler” in California. I love the fruit, and the blossoms’ aroma is of the essence of spring to me. Maybe you can enjoy vicariously in your imagination! πŸ™‚

    • You’re right, Marta. Technically, a tanka just adds a couplet to a haiku, with two seven-syllable lines. I like your addition of “-ish” because I don’t know Japanese and am therefore leery of over simplifying a Japanese literary form by merely counting syllables. This small poem is definitely “-ish”!

    • Thank you for this good and solicitous advice, John…..so far, I seem to have escaped the bees unscathed, and a certain amount of March Hare madness doesn’t frighten me. How else explain this blogging of poetry on WordPress? πŸ™‚ (I AM lying low, can’t you tell?)

    • You are so sharp, M-R. Thank you for asking that. You tempt me to go into my long harangue about the current state of poetry writing in English, but I will resist. This little blurb of a poem is typical of poetry that is built solely on image—all the rage, now—and pays no care or attention to sound, or beat. To write a so-called haiku or tanka, for example, one counts syllables per line—just syllables, no rhythm, no harmonics. ( Speech, in some languages is the sounds of equally weighted syllables; but English is ACCENTUAL as well as syllabic: our language music flows out of this fact….got rhythm?)
      Anyhoo, much poetry now is of visual interest. The music of English has little to do with it. To read aloud is irrelevant because there is no particular human voice in it. I believe it is the voice of the particular poet that must come through—whether it’s pleasant or not is another story!

      (If you want to be horrified by this, just go to the poemhunter website and listen to the computerized readings of some of the great poets on their new audio feature.)

      But back to why there’s no audio here. I tried recording it several times. I didn’t like what I heard. I think I know why. But I’ll be back in voice, most likely with the next offering. Thank you so much for asking….you versifying, tall, dear thing!

      • And that, she responded with great satisfaction, is exactly and precisely why I am so pissed off with the haiku and all fashionable forms of poetry !!!
        Besides, they’re nothing LIKE as good as your work !!!

  2. Lovely Cynthia ! ❀ xxx ( I am no fan of grapefruit, and it is a dangerous fruit when the juice is taken with pills, it also is a nono to take grapefruit and chemo together, but I can imagine the flower must have a nice scent πŸ™‚ Pompelmoes is the Flemish word, I never knew the French word till now, thank you! )

    • Hello Ina! Yes, those blossoms do have a wonderful bouquet…I like that Flemish word “pompelmoes” almost as much as the French one, although I don’t think I can pronounce it correctly. “Pamplemousse” always struck me as humorous, that’s why I took it for the title. I continue to hold you in my thoughts and prayers. ❀

  3. I can identify with every word. The skimmia smells beautiful even in the dark. I talk to the hedgehog, even when I can’t see him, and this evening my husband said ‘what?’ and I had to explain that I was talking to the fruit bowl. I miss your usual recording, I put on my earphones in anticipation! (seen your reply to M-R, fair enough!)

  4. Coming back after two days, this seems such a different poem, Cynthia. On my first acquaintance I was amused; it seems now tone sadly beautiful. Why is that? Is it me? There must be different layers in these simple lines.
    Incidentally, I see in the comments that you see it as a visual thing, Al. Images without the musicality of poems. But I can hear alliteration and assonance and it has a strong aural impact for me.
    I like it more and more.

    • Yes, John, it’s you……and me too. I think you know somewhat of my lover’s quarrel with haiku-like poetry. I try not to get involved with such forms but, as an inveterate reader of Basho translations, always come back to try one. I know it’s not about counting syllables, and mistrust the dry templates some people like to preach—as to what kind of image goes in the first line, and where the “turn” is. There’s some quality that escapes all of this, and that’s what fascinates…when it’s present….a simplicity of the real, along with all of what you call “layers”. It’s experience, not talk about experience. Musicality is inevitable, once it’s written down, but only coincidental. Some of us will always find and be found by the music of language. The brevity and formula have made it deceptively simplistic in socio-poetic circles. For my next post I have a “tanka chain”, …which I am reading aloud to further explore this image/sound concern of mine. Maybe the tanka chain will yield my own string theory. πŸ™‚ And those who come primarily to listen won’t be asking “Where’s the audio?” Thank you so much for your contribution to the conversation. It is much appreciated.

    • Another audio fan!

      Yesterday, just for fun, I went to a website called text2speech where you can get a free audio mp3 recording by a computer voice (the choices were American male, American female and Scottish male…?? go figure). Anyway, I typed in this little poem, trying all three voices, and was aghast at the audio readings…..like something from Dante’s inferno, done futuristically.

      My setup wouldn’t allow me to transfer those readings here, but I would have liked to do so…just out of my (often perverse) sense of humour.

      I’ll be resuming audio with the next post, Frank. Glad you appreciate, and thanks.

  5. Ah Cynthia, so glad I didn’t miss this wonder – Happy Easter to you. Sweet with imagery – as I think about our flowers and tree blossoms bursting open, with bees and butterflies happy with their fill of nectar. I haven’t seen any hummingbirds yet, but I’m sure they’ll be soon on their way showing their silly drunkenness with nectar – I’m happy to see the kiss of Spring everywhere. Hope you are well and enjoying finally the smell of the earth awaking. I miss your voice too ~

    • You miss the voice too? That settles it, Mary. I will have to continue adding audio to the posts.

      You are sounding here like a very goddess of spring! Your yellow roses are to die for. I loved seeing them….and I wish you a happy Eastertide too!

      • Ah Cynthia – one of our yellow rose bushes has about 50 buds all ready to burst open, in fact I predict tomorrow or maybe early evening tonight we might be in for a show. The red climber has hundreds of buds, one more week maybe. The white lovely in front is looking full but not quite as plentiful as prior years. Last year we lost 10 old english bushes do to the drought and rosette virus, so sad, neighbors would drive by shouting, “your roses are so beautiful.” I’ll take a few pictures and share them (hopefully the pending storms don’t blow them apart this coming Thursday).

  6. In a strange way this reminded me of Ariel’s song in ‘The Tempest’ In it Shakespeare gives us peach blossoms, bees and owls. No hooting however, same elements different message! In Ariel’s song it is all about the sound and the music! By the way I understand completely about your horror at some of the audios another horror of mine is when someone kindly ‘translates’ a piece like, Ariel’s song, into “modern English” thereby ditching the whole sonorous effect. No doubt it can be done but there are a lot of horrible renditions out there. Please forgive my rambling – Pamplemousse was fun!

    • It’s so interesting to me that you made that association with Ariel’s song…and a good one it is, since The Tempest is my favorite Shakespearean work. (Another of Ariel’s songs also seems to have crept into my head when I wrote “Into Something Rich And Strange”)
      Fortunately I didn’t get so influenced as to write “…where the owl hoots, there hoot I….” 😎

      I do agree with you about that business of “updating” Shakespeare by changing the language. I don’t believe it is his insights into humanity that make him great….they are wonderful, but can be found in many another literary work. It is his use of the English language that makes what is spoken so memorable and beautiful. Change that, and you’ve killed the essence. I have enjoyed your “ramblings” , as you put it. Thanks, Jane. Happy spring!

  7. Ah Cynthia – for some reason I’m not receiving your poems on my reader – so came to look! How intriguing to see you had written a Tanka – and only a few days before my meager efforts!
    Reading all the comments has been so enlightening and has helped my understanding enormously – thank you.
    I find the discussion regarding the musicality so interesting (of course!). I do wonder how a native Japanese feels when reading English versions of their technical poetry – and how often we are able to adequately use the techniques in the poetry for their desired effect (the cut, the turn, etc.!).
    Languages are so culturally entwined (of course!) so, surely, it takes a deep understanding of the culture to effectively express oneself in the language (I see this daily here in SA where we have 11 official languages! plus many variant cultures in ‘the pot’, so to speak). I wonder if the same goes for language specific techniques?
    I find it so interesting to ‘play’ with words using different techniques but I must confess now to some trepidation looking at it ‘cross-culturally’, as it were, although I can relate to your reply to John Looker with the fascination of the simplicity and the layers, when present! Not an easy thing to achieve.
    Think I will stick to my usual, English cultured inspired techniques – music, rhythm and all!
    After all this – I do like your Tanka – the imagery, the feel and the layered simplicity! You are a gem! Thank you! πŸ™‚

    • Your comment does make me feel kinda sparkly, Rob! πŸ™‚ So glad you took the time to write your thoughts and impressions here. Blogging ought to afford us a conversation, from time to time, about what we’re all trying to learn and do. Your own poetry is never without the music (of course!). I find it difficult, sometimes, to find a balance—when meter and or rhyme want to take over, it’s hard to be loyal to ordinary speech, but when the balance occurs and the sound is natural, inevitable, what a good thing! I guess you face that every time you deal with a new NaPoMo prompt. But I’ll bet the exercise is gratifying….I’m happy to be vicariously enjoying your trip. Rock on!

      • Thanks for your kind comment Cynthia – pleased you are ‘sparkly’! πŸ™‚ and I’ m happy you’re sharing the trip! Would be a lonely path without all the friends we meet on the way, yes?! Gratifying, when we ‘get it right’ as you say, but so much more when shared and discussed. Much like the coffee house discussions – except for the few thousand kilometers in between! πŸ™‚ Enjoy your spring!

  8. It sounds like a fairy having drunk too much nectar! πŸ˜‰ But isn’t pamplemousse a grapefruit? I’m not sure who is speaking in the poem – sorry for my confusion! But whoever it is, it sounds quite a divine evening they had, hooting at owls too – haha!!! πŸ˜€

    • Yes, pamplemousse is grapefruit, and this nectar is from grapefruit blossoms—a most intoxicating aroma they have. This was inspired initially by another blogger who lives in California in a rural rustic area they call a “holler”, who posted some beautiful photos of blossoms on her grapefruit trees and spoke of getting drunk on “grapefruit flower air. The blossoms had big fat bees on them, and she said if you don’t threaten them, they don’t sting you. The poem is in the form of a tanka. πŸ™‚

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s