Dan Schneider’s Poem: Holy Sonnet 3

Another powerful abstract poesy for the road:

HOLY SONNET 3

Sing with your laugh, for I am reminded
of a day when your body was the river
that spun through my veins, split me, and blinded
me to duality. You were my lover,
though you knew it not then. A laugh like yours
is a song that floats through Alpine shadows
that seep through the summer grasses with more
coolness that blooms. Like carnations it grows
a peace which tangles with each inward breath,
the bounty of life at its most undead-
your laugh. Suddenly it is more than a laugh.
It brings me nearer to myself- the choice
of a knife that is brutal, or merely red
in the aftermath refreshness of its voice.

This poem is an abstract love poem, but it could also be about Blood.

Sing with your laugh, for I am reminded
of a day when your body was the river
that spun through my veins, split me, and blinded
me to duality. You were my lover,

I can think of two ways to read this. Either the poet is talking about a real lover – and the moment when the embrace of that lover ‘blinded me to duality’ (body + mind). Or it could be about how Blood itself pulses through us and roots us into material reality. If I take the latter interpretation, then ‘I am reminded’ would be viewed from a post-material existence – the mind reminiscing about its ‘lover’ – the body.

Indeed, ‘split me’ and ‘blinded’ can be seen as the body being derived from the mind – very Cartesian.

though you knew it not then. A laugh like yours
is a song that floats through Alpine shadows
that seep through the summer grasses with more
coolness that blooms. Like carnations it grows

So, with my two ways of reading this – either it’s about a poet reminiscing about a lover in a lovely peaceful way, or its about the mind in a post-life recalling the ‘song’ that was the body. In the latter case, the ‘Alpine shadows’ and the ‘seeping through the summer grasses’ with ‘coolness that blooms’ can be like metaphysical calm, or the substance of life seeping into everything.

a peace which tangles with each inward breath,
the bounty of life at its most undead-
your laugh. Suddenly it is more than a laugh.

This reinforces the idea of blood – being ‘bounty of life at its most undead’. But there’s a bit of a chill there, because the ‘un-dead’ also calls to attention something horrible – since undead in English is more than just the negation of death.

It could also be about the lover’s memory – which is where the ‘undead’ would refer to the old thoughts of her.

But… what’s this? Why is there the ‘suddenly more than a laugh’?

It brings me nearer to myself- the choice
of a knife that is brutal, or merely red
in the aftermath refreshness of its voice.

HOLY SHIT.

DID YOU SEE THAT?

It doesn’t look so beautiful does it?

Suddenly, the ‘song’ that happens to be ‘blooming’, ‘growing like carnations’, ‘seeping in the summer grasses’, ‘floating through Alpine shadows’ – that doesn’t sound particular nice does it?

If that ‘laugh’ is indeed blood, then this might mean that we’re talking about a poem about some dude getting shanked and bleeding all over the place right?

The ‘undead’ feels more chilling, doesn’t it?

The ‘aftermath refreshness’ sounds like the shanked dude on the ground turning all cold as the song of blood flows out of his veins doesn’t it?

WELL – thankfully Dan is a cognitive poet. So he added the nice ‘merely red’ to offset that image, lessening the hold of the ‘knife’. You could read the ‘knife’ as a metaphor, and, if you took my first analysis of the lover – then it is merely talking about how the memory of the lover could be suddenly taking on a more ‘passionate intensity’ and forcing its way into the body beyond just memory.

Let’s just ignore the whole idea that this could be about the ghost of some shanked dude in the shadows some alley viewing his own body from a calm metaphysical afterlife. Poetry is, after all, beautiful in its multiplicity of interpretations.

But damn…. Dan. Damn

(Okay, upon looking back, that may be a bit of a stretch – but anyway, the main crux of the poem is that it is still a philosophical rumination on the body & mind, and it starts off as smooth before building up to that climax and then returns to smoothness again. There are many other possibilities built into this, but the poem is crafted on the soundest atmospheric and philosophical foundations. It doesn’t spray apart like many other abstract-seeming poems)

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