Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Storm Windows, Yellow Raincoats

I. Margaret comments:

What mean "before the Internet"?
"People who didn’t live pre-Internet can’t grasp how devoid of ideas life in my hometown was. The only bookstores sold Bibles the size of coffee tables and dashboard Virgin Marys that glowed in the dark. I stopped in the middle of the SAT to memorize a poem, because I thought, This is a great work of art and I’ll never see it again.
. . . I just put my pencil down and started memorizing. Later I came across the poem in a library. It was “Storm Windows,” by Howard Nemerov."
-- The Art of Memoir No. 1, Mary Karr (author of The Liar's Club), interviewed by Amanda Fortini, The Paris Review No. 191, Winter 2009
"After I read this I looked up "Storm Windows" on the Internets. Took me 10 seconds."

[end Margaret's comment]

Me too. It's a good November poem, so here it is.

"Storm Windows"


People are putting up storm windows now,
Or were, this morning, until the heavy rain
Drove them indoors. So, coming home at noon,
I saw storm windows lying on the ground,
Frame-full of rain; through the water and glass
I saw the crushed grass, how it seemed to stream
Away in lines like seaweed on the tide
Or blades of wheat leaning under the wind.
The ripple and splash of rain on the blurred glass
Seemed that it briefly said, as I walked by,
Something I should have liked to say to you,
Something ... the dry grass bent under the pane
Brimful of bouncing water ... something of
A swaying clarity which blindly echoes
This lonely afternoon of memories
And missed desires, while the wintry rain
(Unspeakable, the distance in the mind!)
Runs on the standing windows and away.

Howard Nemerov, “Storm Windows” from The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1977).

Maybe "the ripple and splash of rain on the blurred glass" wanted to say, "Sinä lähdit pois" (You went away).

"Sinä lähdit pois," by Finnish group Ultra Bra, in their yellow raincoats. (I posted this before; translation(s) here.)

(See also, Coraline in her yellow raincoat.)

LEFT: "This is football/soccer player Mesut Ozil. He’s Muslim and he likes yellow. Especially yellow shoes when worn with green socks and a yellow jacket with a purple knitted top, but especially with jeans."

--From Pictures of Muslims Wearing Things
via Momo

I noticed Ozil when he was playing for the German national team in this summer's World Cup. (He's third generation Turkish-German.)


momo said...

yellow raincoats of melancholy joy

Emma J said...

Love the yellow raincoats and the blue-gren sky - surely this is an ad for airline?

Fresca said...

EMMA: I thought he looked like an angel from "Wings of Desire" (I loved that movie too).

Muslims advertising [western] airlines? I like it!

Emma J said...

You're right - I'd missed the pediment. So maybe they change their black overcoats to yellow raincoats by the season? I like that!

Bianca Castafiore? said...

love it...

i love brilliant "meta."

Fresca said...

EMMA: Hm. Maybe they wear yellow but we can't tell cause it's b&w...

Thanks, La Bianca (?)!

Jennifer said...

I'm terribly smitten with the soul of anyone who would stop taking the SATs to memorize a poem. I don't have faith I would have done so, even pre-Internet.

Dan and I often stop and say in amazement, "Fifteen years ago, people would argue about 'whether it was Cary Grant or Gregory Peck in that one know the one? The one with the thing?' And most of the time THEY WOULD NEVER KNOW THE ANSWER." There might, of course, be advantages to not being able to find so many of the answers so quickly, but I kind of like it, I have to admit. I just spent two hours researching Noh theater for the hell of it today, that just doesn't feel like a bad thing.