Poetry for Disaster Relief (September 2017)
Josh Medsker read the poems posted to the Fall/Winter 2017/2018 issue in September 2017. We got talking about how poetry does nothing and so came up with this collaboration to make a donation fund for disaster relief.
The first poetry reading was posted on Facebook on Tues, 5 September 2017, 4pm (Eastern Standard Time). The links are provided below.
You may donate here.
A poem was posted daily on this site in September 2017. You may still donate to Josh’s paypal. The donation window is open till the current issue ends in February 2018. Even a dollar would do, if we add up all the dollars. Who can’t afford a dollar? In a way this is an experiment to see if poetry can bring in any bucks at all.
Here’s the first donation. If there’re any more donations we’ll update.
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found;
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song;
–Andrew Marvell, “To His Coy Mistress”
Memento mori–you know what it means. Transitory things. Perishable people. When you are in transit you seem to fit into some kind of plan but then find yourself in an empty space. In a parking lot. Sitting on a staircase in the middle of a social event. On a park bench under a chestnut tree. There’re really lots of empty spaces in between when you seem to be waiting for something or someone. Forever waiting.
On a mortal note, you’ve noticed too, “the body’s decrease/Of power and repair as these begin/The ultimate indications of old age.” (A D Hope, “Memento Mori”). When I was thirty I wrote about my mother’s ageing lament, noticing her slower gait, graying hair, spots and all. And tried to mythologize. Well now I am the exact same age that my mother was at the time of writing. Time’s winged chariot, kiss my ass!
Where did all the time go?
All the more then, shouldn’t it be that, as Andrew Marvell said, “the last age should show your heart”? We are bound to our hearts. That is truth. Back to Marvell’s famous first line.
“Had we but world enough and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.’
Time enough to love. We still have time, and if we cared not for Marvell’s conceit, then even to be coy, awaiting love to ripen.
So by all means write about love. Write about happiness in the living. Because existence is predicated on life and death. What is life if we’ve not loved? What is life’s meaning if we do not die? What is death if not the end of living? And the end of writing, if I may boldly add. If you’re entranced by an author’s work, and had secretly read all her work, you’d weep when the said author has died. I know I did, read a postage stamp size of her obituary, and wept. Isn’t it by reading that we kind of enter another person’s soul? Pray, let me enter your soul.
Love, it would appear, is the ageless thing. If love is redemption where does it come from? Are there different kinds of adulthood other than the standard romance/sex/happily ever after? Why is that the main narrative? Surely there are other sorts of narratives, romantic or otherwise, that are equally true. Are you even going to surface them? Write about places where people find solace. What about the lack of solace, the limits of love?
And then there’s God, to whom most will eternally cling to. How do you deal with the concept of God, and are there other ways of godliness? Write about the mystery that is at the heart of human existence.
And then there’s eternity itself. Surely it’s not a “desert” as Marvell put it?
What is eternity, dear poets? Can eternity exist if there’s no concept of mortality? Or the converse, what is mortality without the concept of eternity? Are these purely rhetorical questions, like a blast of hot air?
On that mighty dubious note, let your mythologizing begin then.
Submissions are open for the Fall/Winter 2017/2018 issue. Closing date: 25 February 2018. Please read our submission guidelines before submitting.
Selected poems will be posted on this site from September 2017 to February 2018.
Our journal has a prompt site, Red Wolf Prompts. You are encouraged to write to the prompts over at the site, if you so wish.
Irene Toh & Tawnya Smith
Fall/Winter 2017/2018 Editors
Red Wolf Journal