Some Thoughts on Burning of the Three Fires
by Jeanne Marie Beaumont (BOA Editions, 2010)
It is a pupil, image of small self in cantering of eye. Someone is watching.
Now go ahead. You are free. You may be free. You may loosen your happiness, if you will, in a knot of threads.
Lightly you may ask yourself, “What is this child (being ‘girlish’), in adult's lives, when there is so much loss of perspective?” For certain it is a dream of leaving. To take along stories no mere adult can express is that dream, with more than minor interruptions, more than those merely interstitial digressions.
It is a question of coming upon these poems, and these words, the resiliency of them. So when construction, device pace this palette, then proper it is, and let us see why:
Judas Priest, father mumbles, who knows
the corrosive effect of small errors. The glider soothes
the young girl. The air smells deep green.
Her mind waits far in right field, dulled by that
wait. Haven’t you come to tell her
she’s having a happy childhood? A bat cracks.
A thwarted bug thuds against the screen.
It’s so quiet, no one hears you leave.
The leaving is surreptitious, a peeling away from well-tolled scene, from setting for confessional, as if in a moving, living alimony to be drawn from. Memory pauses, feeds to action, becomes the child, but sorely, forwardly, by instructing quirky pulpy mountain of decision.
That was then, in miniature to be visited. Today as well, in open-hearted partings, childhood awaits as if a glowing grasping of innocent objects, as if purely doll-wish, as if time-partnered in tinky traffic. Of knotty breezes it awaits and stirs, but no less comically, no less serenely agnostical. If it does, if it latches and clicks that way, it may well try a “Rite (for quitting the premises)” and so revel solemnly alone in simple coupling construction, so wickedly, so prancingly revanching and rebounding, and yet alone, and yet not “too old to learn,” and yet still alone, and yet permission-giving:
For one who owns the bewilderment
no circumstances are ordinary.
Scarve the neck, protect the ears.
On the way to displacing your
self-bundle of electricity
tender letters, tip the porter.
Underappreciated, your essential character
accompanies you. Through each turn-
stile, a quelling, a refuge awaits.
In tumult of transit
something inadvertently’s bound
to be lost or left.
First near, then far.
Symptoms of disconnect
may be treated with longing—
for its own sake.
The sweet distress of longing
never was truant.
Earnest announcements are
entering you. Allow them to.
As tinkered, or as pre-thought, previous, it is a question of loneliness. And yes as purely of childhood, and dolls, and playing with its pretention in an open, unemptied space, proceeding deliciously in that space for the fullness thereof, and for other plottings. It is a gifted loneliness, extravagant, silly, scrumptious, and not equally about to slight the gifting mirror.
Childhood and childhood and childhood, ever a gifted day. This pursuit may unload discrepancies of physical fear and factors. What resides, what retreats into these physical factors, becomes the sling-shot miscast, leaves only the rough-shod, the almost unwanted material:
Broken Dolls Day
(June 3, Japan)
The stitched would never
heal. Nor could the smallest finger
missing of a hand be glued to a pudgy
plastic palm. She lies on her back—bye-bye
It is over. Around her those of the lost
screws, stuck eyes, detached
wires, burnt hair, punctured torso;
brother work, dog work, left out
in the rain. Played out. Over the wood,
wax, plastic, porcelain, papier mâché,
straw, leather, resin & cloth,
the four-foot hunchbacked monk
bows his ancient bald head.
O broken ones, we are
the careless world—forgive us
for we wore you as ourselves.
As far as dolls are concerned, in terms of self-fashioning related to childhood if it is truly to come through, it takes form, it takes the forming and the fashioning, to arrive to comparison, to breach to completion. To this end an age-old form, the concrete poem, supplies rich detail, and all that is wanted. Fully and broadly slanting wing on page top to bottom tenders “Doll Winging (the cicada died a natural death)” as both gorgeous and didactic. The play of it colors the stretch of it, and they happen to be true, and trick and break out to delight.
And thus, and always, the importance lies in the charm, in having a thing for toys, trinkets and trimmings, and in plumbings freely pulsated off and engrossed in pattering the freedom from stellar harm:
My pert ponytail
like a girlish puppeteer’s
one of my good (sane) years
springing to life in the middle
of the episode
moving the mouth by the hand
And you may read along in miniatures not too different or too precious. And not to worry, somehow all is arranged, goodly. Somehow even this tasking of forms, so magnificent, of a poem like “Rite of Ten” or of the rondeau — truly blithely sexual tacked onto the overall incendiary fission — that is the title poem, sings summer-all, greeting and graceful.
And for blessings of construction and of happiness, yes go read this book. You may find what more there is to stay.