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MD Kerr @m_d_kerr
, 11 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Releasing more #poetry into the wild: "Song for the Wounded". I'll give my spin on it after the #poem, because I believe quite strongly that people should be free to read a poem however they like, just as we all feel free to take song lyrics and make them OURS.
With songs, we can take lyrics and apply them like poultices to our own wounds or joys, "yes, like THAT, it's exactly that!" - and ignore the lyrics that don't fit. And I believe we should always feel free to USE #poetry the same way. That's not the only way possible, of course.
There's a different pleasure in unpeeling and interpreting a #poem only on its own terms - but even then, I'm a death-of-the-author believer: if the words in the poem offer you that meaning, that's yours. What I *intended* is neither here nor there. You own its meaning now.
A #poem is a landscape of meaning, not a single route. It can set boundaries to meanings and add features, but it can't control the routes of meaning you take. Preamble over, here it is: Song for the Wounded.
Under the figs, in the evening, I read your prophecies, John,
and remembered how the curling, gleaming nest of vipers shone
in the desert sun above us, when I arched like an olive tree
in the shade of the rocks, before I knew how many you’d had like me
– but not like me, Salome, I’ll dance tonight for your head
and they’ll see my side when I’m famous and you’re dead.
Here's the #poem in full. You can also see it on my website, here, mdkerr.com/Poetry/Assortm… where I'll be gradually collecting all the poems I release into the wild. Text of the poem in the thread above, on a sandy coloured background
I was imagining Salome's dance for John the Baptist's head, in the New Testament, from her point of view: the story goes that she just asked for his head because her mother told her to, but that always struck me as insufficient motive. Esp as her power is her sexuality, in dance.
To use your sexuality to have a man killed—just cos Mum said so? I imagined instead the secret truth of her story—in opposition to the lies told about her, and to the lies John the supposedly truth-telling prophet might have told her. How that "nest of vipers" line must've stung.
And of course, like most poems, there is another secret meaning to it, because I didn't just want to write about Salome, I was writing about my own secrets. And that will be my meaning alone, which I own, just as you get to have your meaning alone, which you own.
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