Not Pumpkin Spice
Pain froze you, for years—and fear—leaving scars.
But now, as though miraculously, it seems, here you are
walking easily across the ground, and into town
as though you were floating on air, which in part you are,
or riding a wave of what feels like the world’s good will—
though helped along by something foreign and older than you are
and yet much younger too, inside you, and so palpable
an X-ray, you’re sure, would show it, within the body you are,
not all that far beneath the skin, and even in
some bones. Making you wonder: Are you what you are—
with all that isn’t actually you having flowed
through and settled in you, and made you what you are?
- “The Ghazal of What Hurt” by Peter Cole
BY BEITH BURTON
“Good morning, muses. October is upon us. What shall I write?”
“Yes! October, the month of infusions! Pumpkin spice! Olive oil and rosemary! Cranberry vodka!”
Fuse, from the root gheu-: to make liquid by heat. A proto-Indo-European root: to pour. Also rooted here: foundry, funnel, gut.
Alchemy. Fondant. Fondue. Geyser. Gush. Gust.
Confound. Confuse. Futile. Futility.
Profuse. Refund. Refuse.
I am suffused with anger.
“No, muses, I cannot talk about that. Everyone is tired of hearing that.”
Words that begin with ghayn [gh in English] allow a contemplation of change -- both terms for change and terms for the objects of change. Imagery of transformation and metamorphosis, always at the heart of poetic traditions, helps us sketch a phenomenology of poetry, which in many of the traditions using Arabic letters is synonymous with that ghayn-initiated word,
Looking at the mysterious presence of the ghazal [poetry] form it is not immediately obvious to us what paradigm of change to apply. Once it takes root in Persian it keeps its shape for centuries.
We can sum it up briefly enough as a short poem whose formal specifications are like
a horny shell to protect the intimate emotion it expresses.
“No, I can’t talk about my feelings about the outside world because…”
“ I have to be supportive.”
“I have to be strong.”
“ I have to control these things.”
“ I have to be in control of my feelings.”
I have to be.
Beith Burton writes poetry, makes art, and changes what she does for a living pretty often. She is well-practiced at the left-hand turn.