Monday, June 02, 2008

Charles Bukowski

Firstly, thank you to everyone who has participated in the (I'm happy to say) intelligent discussion about this blog's integrity and dirty little habit of making fun of Christopher Paolini. You've all had interesting, mostly polite things to say, and I appreciate you using this blog as a forum for discussing proper decorum (I'm sorry, I couldn't help it; I had to rhyme) and in which direction this blog should be going.

That said, it's time for some old-fashioned writer-blogging.

Enter Charles Bukowski.

The Man, The Legend, the Writing. But we're only going to talk about the writing, specifically a poem that caught my eye and tugged at my heart.

As The Sparrow

To give life you must take life,
and as our grief falls flat and hollow
upon the billion-blooded sea
I pass upon serious inward-breaking shoals rimmed
with white-legged, white-bellied rotting creatures
lengthily dead and rioting against surrounding scenes.
Dear child, I only did to you what the sparrow
did to you; I am old when it is fashionable to be
young; I cry when it is fashionable to laugh.
I hated you when it would have taken less courage
to love.

The reason this spoke to me is because of the line "I only did to you what the sparrow/did to you."

I love how the last bit was dropped to the second line, and I love the implication of man vs. nature and man vs. man, but it leads me to this question: What exactly does he mean?

I have my own interpretation, but there's no reason for it to be right, or the only what. Tell me what you think. What did he do and what did the sparrow do?

This bird is called the Savannah Sparrow. Don't you love it?


Jaden said...

Nice bird.
Nice poem.

- Jaden

Feliza said...

Ah, the bird is lovely.

I like the last line: "I hated you when it would have taken less courage/to love."

Why would it take courage to hate? What have they done to deserve it?

Cool poem. Thanks.

- Feliza

Kalehli said...

Hmm... I liked this poem... I kinda skimmed it at first and read it again. I think what he's doing is referring to his child growing up. Becoming an adult. Kicking his child out of the nest, into the big bad world.

"I hated you when it would have taken less courage to love."

I love that line. I don't think he's actually saying that he hates his child. It's more of a response to the child not wanting to leave home. He's kind of saying 'I wanted you to stay home, but that would benefit only me. So I stayed strong and sent you away'.

There are so many ways to interpret a poem, but I have this (possibly naive) belief that no parent truly hates their child.

Anonymous said...

ummmmmm. i dont like it. not at all. i think it is saying that he hates his son. that isn't a very nice.