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The whole enormous sadness of a shirt


dcmarti1
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The whole enormous sadness of a shirt

(With proper title credit to Jack Kerouac)


The whole enormous sadness of a shirt
at the discount store, three sizes too large
and on a broken hanger at that.
You do not want to be there, in that store
nor in that city -- much more so the city.
Duty is far more concretely observable,
far more patently obvious than love,
but not the least bit holy nor honourable.
From the grave, Dag has asked you,
"Have you fancied another sort of burden?"
From the grave, Dag has scolded you,
"It is easy to be nice -- from lack of character."
This whole enormous sadness from a shirt
that would not even properly fit you;
that was probably sewn by cheated labour;
that is in a city where you are unmasked;
that calls you to a greater sacrifice.

 

(The title is from a sentence from Jack Kerouac's On The Road, Part 1, Chapter 10. The quotes in italics are from Dag Hammarskjold's book Markings.)

 

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Weird just posted and it disappeared;-) What I said was: Marvelous! Stunning and apt. I just read from my twitter feed this: It is natural law that relationships built on rights perish. And relationships built on duties flourish. I was contemplating the truthiness of this when I read this poem providing part of the answer;-)

 

My favorite of your recent spate of excellent poems!

 

Juris

thegateless.org Come on over and check out my poetry substack y'all;-) Or if your bored, head to the Zazzle store: https://www.zazzle.com/store/gateless. If you buy anything I lose a bet, so consider that before you violate the digital rules.

 

Gate(less.png

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My favorite of your recent spate of excellent poems!

 

Juris

 

Thank you very much. And this IS my very newest, written in my new abode in my old home state. Coming to grips with this new life.....

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Oh, man. Is relief that it's not me appropriate? Damn, I'm glad it's not (yet) me!

 

Excellent poem to ponder the predicament. Gotta stay hopeful. Things will get better.

 

Tony

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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Thank you very much. And this IS my very newest, written in my new abode in my old home state. Coming to grips with this new life.....

 

I managed San Antonio for 8 months before running back to California. Spend lots of time in Austin and a good friend of mine manages 'Cave Without a Name' if you need time alone in the hills;-) !

 

J

thegateless.org Come on over and check out my poetry substack y'all;-) Or if your bored, head to the Zazzle store: https://www.zazzle.com/store/gateless. If you buy anything I lose a bet, so consider that before you violate the digital rules.

 

Gate(less.png

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The problem I find Marti is that the title is surreal, but the poem isn't. The poem seems to want to provide a narrative, be conscious rather than subconscious.

 

Obviously it works for others. So once again it is just a perspective.

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The problem I find Marti is that the title is surreal, but the poem isn't. The poem wants to provide a narrative.

 

Obviously it works for others. So once again it is just a perspective.

 

I'll take commentary any way I can! I had not thought about the title being SURREAL; it did not strike me that way, just as something "deep". Too much narrative would just make it sound more "woe is me" than it already does.....I think. I am lucky to be writing again at all! ha

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"Duty is far more concretely observable,
far more patently obvious than love,
but not the least bit holy nor honourable."

Really?

How so?

I don't fine support for this contention in your poem.

from the black desert

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"Duty is far more concretely observable,

far more patently obvious than love,

but not the least bit holy nor honourable."

Really?

How so?

I don't fine support for this contention in your poem.

 

Was hoping the 2 Dag Hammarskjold quotes would do it, but even a liberal believer might remember 1 Corinthians 13:

 

"...if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing..."

 

Did not mean for this to be a test. ;)

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Interpretation may vary according to the readers aspect which is one of the qualities of a good poem. Paying respect to ones readers (by leaving them some work to do) can be a delicate balance. Many of the great poets made references to things, with the assumption that their readers were 'au fait' with the things they were. For my own world-entrenched self I focused on the lines "The whole enormous sadness of a shirt....that was probably sewn by cheated labour;" Well done!

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  • 3 weeks later...
David W. Parsley

dc, the whole thing works very well for me. I should not have initially thought appreciation of your theme would necessitate familiarity with either Markings or the First Epistle to the Corinthians by an "apostle born out of season." One of the values of this site, as you astutely observe, is the opportunity for responses from many perspectives. And I confess that my reading background bears long familiarity with the aforementioned epistle.

 

Many things are born out of season, often from situations brought about by our responses to duty. While I have often felt as you apparently did while writing this poem, I urge you (and myself) to remind yourself that such duties as we assume, are permanent remnants in an individual's make-up. And they became permanent because of that most noble of urgings and assertions: love, from however long ago. You don't have to be currently feeling it to still be impelled by it. Your poem brings that point home well for this reader.

 

A final philosophical note comes from a reconsideration of the most famous quotes attributed to William McKinley, 25th US President: "Duty determines destiny."

 

- Dave

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