Getting It Less Wrong

jrlewis's picture

Hey now, he had to be aggressive,

always pressing.  For she saw him as her

 

older sister, bearded, holding a gray sieve,

and knowing everything.  She was resisting.

 

He wanted to be pressing towards her;

was there something else he wanted to ask?

 

Always.  He was trying to teach her;

his eyes were quiet and his body was calm.

 

His eyes are grey, brown, green; she sees

and her greenness makes her forget the color

 

of her sister’s eyes.  So she is yielding,

and becoming the student to whom

 

her teacher is true. Where he is close,

to her, oh so close.  Here he is the man

 

whom she is leaning toward, walking toward,

because she wants to be always learning.

 

Comments

alesnick's picture

powerful poem

Julia, these verses read as very sure, spare, and a great combination of intense and restrained.  The shift between the sister's body and the man's, eyes, beard, is compelling, as is "holding a gray sieve."  

jrlewis's picture

It's a pleasure to hear from

It's a pleasure to hear from you!  I'm curious about your reading of the phrase "a gray sieve".  Did you recognize that a gray sieve sounds like the word aggressive?

alesnick's picture

I didn't recognize the sound

I didn't recognize the sound association, consciously at least!  But now that I hear it, it sounds good.  "A gray sieve" struck me because there is something powerful about a filter, and someone's being marked as a filter bearer makes her seem fierce, maybe dangerous . . . combined with a dray sieve being a standard domestic item, kitchen weapon.

jrlewis's picture

The Fierce Chef

The older sister character is a little dangerous. She represents something wild and aggressive that the younger sister is ambivalen about. The male character, there is very little information about except his resemblance to the sister and his eyes. Of course, how much can eyes tell us? That is probably my central question for this poem and man. How to resolve the conflict between the gentle eyes and the fierce chef? (We can plausibly call the male character a chef I think.)

jrlewis's picture

Serendip wanted it to look like this...

Hey now, he had to be aggressive, always pressing. For she saw him as her older sister bearded, holding a gray sieve, and knowing everything. She was resisting. He wanted to be pressing towards her; was there something else he wanted to ask? Always. He was trying to teach her; his eyes were quiet and his body was calm. His eyes are grey, brown, green; she sees and her greenness makes her forget the color of her sister’s eyes. So she is yielding, and becoming the student to whom her teacher is true. Where he is close, to her, oh so close. Here he is the man whom she is leaning toward, walking toward, because she wants to be always learning.

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