Guest Poet Caroline Seagle


and Triangles.

Great, white birches grasping this entropy
-or attempting to-
striking out from a dirty vase,
white knuckles and blacks veins
in this failing attempt, and

I can only think of 
the rigid countours
of my fingers fully extended and
numb to music 
like notes are rapidly snapping off
and I cannot hold them all-

(frail leaves drop from shaky branches)

and one hand not able to reach far enough--
is trembling and naked.

This obstacle
what limits the shoots from which
my roots are grown,
is the geometry of being a birch tree 
stuck in a dirty vase

at this time
and I wonder when this stratified evidence 
will bleed off

(I am playing on the schizophrenic
tributaries of music; spilled ink on
the coarse bark manuscript)

and when I will die and rot away--
quietly rot away...

and  be the soft pulp of birch in the after-growth,
the essence of dull chords, and perhaps even

the hypoteneuse of a somewhat 
obtuse world, filled with 
the musical matter of.

August, 2000

Caroline Seagle's Questions:

1.) Is the poem thought-provoking or nebulous? Should I include more to try and convey the deeper meanings of the poem and the metaphor I hoped to present in it?

2.) Can the reader gain a sense of feeling trapped in an enclosed atmosphere? I hoped to carry a claustrophobic, uncomfortable air throughout the poem. Is the imagery helpful in doing so?

3.) How are the phrases in parantheses taken? Do they help to provide enclosure? They were also meant to introduce reality to the situation in a casual, more figurative way. I hoped that this would trigger a polar effect in the reader, however, and actually make the poem more dense... Does this work at all?

4.) Are too many ideas presented? Do the connections with music, especially, make sense?

Any additional comments are greatly appreciated! I would especially love to know how the overall poem is interpreted from the reader's point of view.

Thank you.

The Albany Poetry Workshop