My Thoughts Collapse Before The Hue

 

New Mexico Motel

The William Carlos Williams Motel Sonnet

by Luke Davies

The blue becomes you, mate; the day
becomes your sensibility.

(The motel room in Santa Fe
imagines the immense green sea –

and worse the knotty crodile
that lies and blinks upon the Nile

is resurrected in my head.)
The vase of flowers by my bed.

The light seeps in at dawn; the blue
pervades like shaded maganese.

My thoughts collapse before the hue
shed light upon your bare blue knees.

The ruffled sheet, the sun, your head.
The vase of flowers by the bed.


 

I am always intrigued by the mystery of why a poet intentionally connects his own work to another poet’s work.  The lines, “and worse the knotty crodile/that lies and blinks upon the Nile” are taken from R. L. Stevenson’s poem Travel in A Child’s Garden of Verse. Davies is an Australian, and if some part of his poem originated from a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico, then it makes sense as a traveler he may have drawn upon Stevenson’s imaginative verse for inspiration. That Davies choose that line specifically adds a sense of childhood awe to the imagery he creates.

As a child growing up I was fortunate to have parents that took us on long car camp trips.  One of the epic trips was a three-week excursion when I was six years old that took us from Minnesota to Oregon, to San Francisco, to Los Angeles, to Arizona, to Durango, Colorado and then back to Minnesota. Along the way we stopped at every National Park, or at least it seemed that way, often pitching our green canvas Coleman tent for the night.

The visit to the Grand Canyon on that trip remains the one and only time I have been there.  But believe it or not that was not the highlight for me of the National Parks in Arizona.  The little known Petrified Forest was to a little boy who still loves to find agates, the most mind-blowing side excursion of that trip. The petrified forest has these amazing specimens of literally entire tree trunks that over time were replaced by a kaleidoscope of minerals, turning them into literally semi precious gigantic stones that whether natural or polished were astonishing. As an adult, I have found a few small pieces of petrified wood in various places in the west, but nothing as colorful or spectacular as what was on display at the National Park.

Petrified wood
Petrified Forest National Park Arizona

How do we retain our sense of awe in travel that so filled our imagination when we were young?  I think the key is to always take the side trip, slow down and pick up a rock or two.  You never know what you might find.


Travel

By Robert Louis Stevenson

I should like to rise and go
Where the golden apples grow;—
Where below another sky
Parrot islands anchored lie,
And, watched by cockatoos and goats,
Lonely Crusoes building boats;—
Where in sunshine reaching out
Eastern cities, miles about,
Are with mosque and minaret
Among sandy gardens set,
And the rich goods from near and far
Hang for sale in the bazaar;—
Where the Great Wall round China goes,
And on one side the desert blows,
And with bell and voice and drum,
Cities on the other hum;—
Where are forests, hot as fire,
Wide as England, tall as a spire,
Full of apes and cocoa-nuts

cover

And the negro hunters’ huts;—
Where the knotty crocodile
Lies and blinks in the Nile,
And the red flamingo flies
Hunting fish before his eyes;—
Where in jungles, near and far,
Man-devouring tigers are,
Lying close and giving ear
Lest the hunt be drawing near,
Or a comer-by be seen
Swinging in a palanquin;—
Where among the desert sands
Some deserted city stands,
All its children, sweep and prince,
Grown to manhood ages since,
Not a foot in street or house,
Not a stir of child or mouse,
And when kindly falls the night,
In all the town no spark of light.
There I’ll come when I’m a man
With a camel caravan;
Light a fire in the gloom
Of some dusty dining-room;
See the pictures on the walls,
Heroes, fights, and festivals;
And in a corner find the toys
Of the old Egyptian boys.

Published by

T. A. Fry

I am a life-long Minnesotan who resides in Minneapolis. I hope you enjoy my curated selection of sonnets, short poems and nerdy ruminations.

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