poetry without a place (4)

Ville-d’Avray (c. 1867) by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

I’m sorry for the absence; the silence. I haven’t been able to write. Writing isn’t easy. Sometimes I lose it entirely. It’s somehow such a bland thing to say. It’s not a block, and it’s not precisely the inability to string words together and make something out of them — that’s not writing. Sometimes I create something and I feel as if it contains nothing true of me; it did not inherit, perhaps because the spoils are scarce, or perhaps because it didn’t have to, but that’s not writing. Or it might be, but it’s not what I’m about. I’ve thought of deleting this website, start fresh somewhere else, recreate something freer, shapeless, but how long then until I’m here again? It’s within myself that I am stuck, not in what surrounds me. If it was the latter, I would be able to write. This is where being creative has unimaginable worth, telling blue from green, sadness from sadness. I miss it terribly. I really do.

Published by João-Maria

A tick clinging to the bristles of a purple boar.

31 thoughts on “poetry without a place (4)

  1. …and I have missed your eloquence. I can’t write if it’s not true, if the cycle doesn’t repeat and show me the breadth and depth, the intricacy if that was relevant, of it’s pattern of the emerging form… if what I am experiencing and focussing on is not something utterly essential to my being, I feel have nothing worth mentioning, to myself or anyone else… to survive, we do what me must, this needs no apology. Your post is lime rain in the desert, unexpectedly welcome. Thank. I love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you completely. It’s that necessity, of course, but also, it’s the honesty. One would think it easier to make some narrative, some other world of sorts, and write it daily, mechanically, expand upon it, but even then, if it is dishonest, if feels dishonest, unessential, unwelcome. Silent can be infinitely expressive.
      I’m happy you compared my post to rain on a desert. Hölderlin’s The Death of Empedocles (the third version ends somewhat similarly:
      O wann, wann öffnet sie sich
      die Flut über die Dürre.
      (Oh, when, when will it open up
      the flood across the barren plain.)

      Isn’t that what we long for, when writing isn’t true? A flood over the desert, rain over the barren plain.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. João-Maria – how lovely to hear your voice. I have read these poems thus far just the once, but I was immediately struck by their accessibility. That’s something I have trouble with, and I instantly felt some sort of echo. I shall return.
    Have a wonderful 2022!


  3. Mr. Joao-Maria, I missed you, and this is wonderful. I lingered on every word. I suppose I shouldn’t say this, but your poetry is hard for me. But with this, you are making a convert of me. In your absence, I have thought about you, speculating where you went. My speculations ranged from you relocating to Facebook, getting involved with school, or German, or basking on a beach in Portugal, and other possibilities, some dark. So glad you’re back.
    Dave Fekete

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I would lie if I said it isn’t hard for me as well. Perhaps for different reasons. I missed you too, David, but I do hope I fail to convert you. Otherness is a blessing of sorts, and we mustn’t resist it.
      I do not use Facebook, but I am quite involved with school and research (and, by extent, German), though no beach-basking has been done. Sometimes I get big surges of sadness because I do not enjoy the beach at all yet I live in a place anyone else would be blessed to live in. Nothing dark, no. I’m really happy you’re still around. I really am.


  4. Hi Joao-Maria, I just sent you a comment welcoming you back. Then I clicked submit, and had to log into WordPress and it sent me to your page and I don’t know if my original comment got through. If it didn’t, I want you to know how glad I am that you’re back. Even if it did get through, I still want you to know how glad I am that you’re back!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I find haiku fun when silence is the dominant theme….
    Good stuff. How do you print the pages like that. I have to keep formatting everything within the blog which is a real chore. Would much rather just put in a pdf like it seems you have done….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These are not haiku! (Though maybe that was not what you were suggesting)
      The WordPress editor is abominable for poetry. You are right, I export the document as a PDF, but if you upload it just as such, it becomes a file and you are unable to resize it to fit the various platforms. What I do is cut up the PDF file in Preview and export again as a PNG (72 pixels works fine to keep the clarity of the letters). It’s much prettier, but it can be hard to read in mobile, especially longer compositions. There are some drawbacks like matching background image with that of the site and filling up the gallery, but verse structure is important to me. Indentation, blank space, spacing in general, resizing and visual manipulation are all important to the poem. Thank you for showing interest!


      1. I get it. You import an image. I’ll try that.
        No, what you posted is not haiku but afterward you said you were on some sort of pause which was not a block but…. so I was suggesting haiku for fun which is merging some sense of present awareness with words.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh, I might try that! It’s hard for me to experiment with form, but I used to do it a lot when I was starting out. Thank you for the suggestion, it means a lot.


      3. The Japanese – who invented the form – have quite a few rules and different types, all of which I respect but you don’t necessarily have to follow them. For example I learned a very simple form from a Buddhist teacher which goes like this:
        First line: Heaven.
        Second line: Earth.
        Third line: Man.

        Heaven, Earth and Man are the three treasures in doaist-confucian tradition which describe experienced Reality, both inner and outer.

        Heaven is literally the Sky. Artistically or psychologically it’s what sets the tone, the weather, the atmosphere. So that is the first line. Example: A chilly winter morning. That sets a certain scene, tone, feeling.

        Earth lies beneath the sky and complements it. Example: broken old tree stump looking forlorn. So we have initial ‘heaven’ or tone which is ‘chilly winter morning’ and now, complementing that, is the ‘broken old tree stump.’ The two together create a scene. If the second line were: ‘tall pine with frost-covered needles’ the mood would be quite different.

        But we have ‘a chilly winter morning; broken old tree stump.

        Now comes Man. The idea with man both in philosophy and art (you can arrange flowers this way too btw, and other things) is that Man joins Heaven and Earth. He (or she) makes them alive somehow, some sort of spark, surprise, awareness, leap, joke, something. So our third Man line could be something like:

        Teeth chattering again… or
        Coffee burns my tongue… or
        Stamping my boots, feet still frozen… or
        Thinking of warm soup at the kitchen table!

        a chilly winter morning
        broken old tree stump looking forlorn
        stamping my boots but feet still frozen.

        Altogether, these simple three lines describe a moment. A moment doesn’t happen without some sort of combination of an external situation or event and an internal feeling in response.

        And that’s it.



      1. I’m not so sure. But it does feel awfully quick, doesn’t it? I don’t wish to write to the maggots gnawing at my bones, nor any sort of grandeur only more time could afford me. But I do wish our dissolution wasn’t so perceptible to us. That going wouldn’t show itself so visibly.
        That’s the thing about green little isolated corners; things don’t really change, and if you squint long enough, you are almost led to believe that you don’t either. That you are crystallised, and when things indeed end, it’s as surprising as it is welcome. Maybe that’s the panacea Brás was looking for. Maybe not.


      2. Do you not like your state of mind;
        Are you bitter, querulous, unkind?
        Do you hate your legs, hate your hands?
        Do you not yearn for lovelier lands?
        Do you dread the dawn’s recurrent light?
        Do you hate to go to bed at night?
        Do you snoot at simple, earnest folk?
        Can you take the gentlest joke?
        Do you find peace in paint or type?
        Or is the world a lot of tripe?
        Are you disillusioned, empty-breasted?
        For what you think, would you be arrested?
        Are you not sick, Are you not well?
        Are your quondam dreams shot to hell?
        Is your soul crushed, spirit sore?
        Do you not like me any more?
        Do you cavil, quarrel, grumble, grouse?
        Do you ponder on the narrow house?
        Do you shudder at the thought of men….?
        Are you due to fall in love again?

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for writing again. The intensity of your words is unparalleled. It touches the truth, the core of elusive emotions that etch our narrative. That you wrote again…thank you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, S! I’m glad I can still write. Sometimes so much time passes that I begin to truly believe I couldn’t possibly do it again, or that I lost whichever touch I had. I’m glad that isn’t the case, and I’m happy you’re still around and kicking.


  7. 530

    I’ve also sensed my depression is a lack of desire. And the epicurean theme of love’s cause and effect—being amazed at it. We often are. Yet, being aware of it… That’s a wiseman’s dilemma.

    Liked by 1 person

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