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Know a Tree

November 3, 2009
I’m new here, so a short introduction is in order.
Generally: my name is Matthew Lafferty, I majored in English and Philosophy, and I’m planning on an eventual career in libraries.
Internettery: I’ve blogged in various places, but most of my presence online is now limited to Twitter and, Facebook, and more recently, ReadWritePoem.
Poetically: I’ve written and enjoyed poetry for a long time, but Mchain and Gnoetry have helped me get to a place where I’m more excited about poetry than perhaps I have ever been. I am still relatively new to it (“it” being digital/machine/computational poetry), and my experience thus far has been a mixture of enjoyment (of the “kid in a candy shop” variety) and a struggle both to figure out my own process and understand my aim in creating this kind of poetry.
Oh, and forgive the title of this post. It is a bad play on words, but it still amuses me, and I have become fond of it. I am still in the process of putting together my own humble chapbook, using Thoreau’s Walden as the primary text and a number of other naturalist & tree-related texts as secondary. I have used/am using both Gnoetry and Mchain in the creation of poems for the chap, as the mood strikes me, but the balance is currently weighted toward Mchain.
Below are five poems created in my quest for additions to the chap, all from the last few days. Let me know what you think, because I am still finding my way to a voice and to understanding what “voice” means with respect to this particular branch of poetry. I will try to offer my own comments to poems posted here by the rest of you, but try though I might, I cannot promise my comments will be as insightful as anyone else’s.
On to the poems.
The bloom set
curiously about me
I felt no island,
overslept comfortably,
was disappointed
when again I woke up
my attention
from the grass-blades,
and their enemies
much astonished
as the new
generation abandoned the world.
blackberries a-growing
still rustle
through the necessity of virtue,
having thus been given
sincerest respect for grass.
They wear black instead
of standing erect, keeping
them down to the state
into whose bosom snow has
lain soft and understanding.
Her body and its limbs into graceful
held her, the tints of her breast.
It did not shine for something friendly;
Solitude alone wears in her coronet.
And chained to her for a long time
for the roaring of liberty
are but the shadows of myself,
enjoying a certain terrible dream
which I lived.
I consider how little this is progress
toward a jail window
or a woodchuck underground
in a topographical description of fate.
3 Comments leave one →
  1. ChadAHardy permalink
    November 9, 2009 10:10 pm

    Hi Matthew!

    It's nice to see a new addition to the site.

    It's strange, after reading your description I was expecting to see more of an ecological tone in the poems, Gary Snyder or something. That is certainly there, especially in 2 and 3, but the dominant tone tended more towards a general disenchantment, at life, at work, etc. There was even a sort of "kids-today" voice: "much astonished / as the new / generation abandoned the world" or "they wear black instead / of standing erect". Interesting, given the source texts.

    Looking forward to seeing more of these.


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