Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Here is a sonnet to commemorate the rescue of the Chilean miners that began last night. It is not necessarily finished. It is directly from a two hour wrestling match with my brain. So why post it now? At first, the answer was clear. I won't. No sense in it. Because not only is the poem possibly incomplete, neither is the rescue effort complete. As of this instant, only sixteen of the miners are above ground. Then I got to thinking about it. I was impressed by a sense of nowness. Something to do with immediacy and the life of a poem. If I am the least bit effective as a poet, I should be able to capture a moment in such a way as to sustain its urgency, in a self-perpetuating sense (a sort of Romantic sense). Such a poem survives the present. Mounts time and rides it into everlasting. Something like that. Something far too laden with metaphysical propositions beyond the scope or intent of this preface.

I don't presume to be achieving anything particularly momentous here. I simply became intrigued by the concept of embedding this object, my small poem, into this time-stamped medium, as an exercise in interaction--that is, an attempt to utilize simultaneity as a means to fully engage the art with its inspiration. Like the quick consumption of hot-out-of-the-oven-bread born of an out-of-the-blue craving. Or something like that. Something to do with immediacy and the life of a poem.

Fenix 2

Descent begins. Slow troll of cable, taut

Along the pulley. The indelible

Unspooling spectacle, invincible

Time counterwise on whitewash spokes and caught

Off guard. Now darkness. Stone against machine.

The mineral moisture, the tang-pricked tears.

His own hot breath—the vapor versus gears

Above, the only vital sign between

The separated lives, the low and high.

The second-hours, the minute-days—how long

Must months seem? Cannot rub the itching eye.

May never see the stars again. Or friends.

Imagine ocean shores. Listen . . . a song—

The hope of half-naked survivors ascends.

[since originally posting this, two things of note: 25 miners are presently out and I changed the "spokes" from "yellow" to "whitewash" having misremembered the color of the pulley-wheel. The frame is yellow.]


  1. Your sonnet echoes the immediacy of life. Was that needless to say?

  2. If I only said (or wrote) what was necessary, I'd say (and write) very little. (zip it)

    interesting the use of the word echo here. it almost entered the poem on a couple of occasions. The hot breath as well as the song very nearly "echoed." appropriate word given the location (a cave) and for the way it conveys two types of presence--1] a lonely one when it is your own voice returned to you or 2] a joyous one as would be the sound of others to draw you out of loneliness.

  3. Greatness in immediate poetic reaction. Damn, that sure is fine.

  4. Gee, lines them. I mean, stars and oceans are always amazing to me (and I'm sure I can't separate what I think of them from the traditions behind them): like when Dante comes out of hell to see the stars for the first time, and the ocean, well, from symbol of chaos to NT presence, the mystic in me shouts "yes!"

    and the fact that "hope...ascends" as metonymy for the miner. YES.

    and, you wrote a sonnet. :)

  5. Dante, metonymy . . . Hannah, you always make me sound so smart, my poems so deftly wrought with a view to my predecessors. I like the reading though. (Speaking of Eco.) The mystic in me always says yes.

    and yeah, a sonnet, that's two in as many days. thanks for the spur.