poetry critical

online poetry workshop

the sacred fig (or what happened after they wandered from yggdrasil)

the sacred fig has dried
cursed to burrow
beneath the seas
parched of salt
everything here
the red of marrow
which is
the red of wars
and of spires too
and when we make it
through the oceans
to reach canaan
we will call the fruits
from trees by name,
tear their flesh
and feast again

15 Jul 09

Rated 8.5 (8.1) by 6 users.
Active (6): 7, 8, 9
Inactive (5): 1, 2, 7, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

(define the words in this poem)
(94 more poems by this author)

(3 users consider this poem a favorite)

Add A Comment:
Enter the following text to post as unknown: captcha


want to change l14 as it is basically stolen, what would go well?
 — Ananke

Why don't you just omit it? nice poem by the way...
 — JKWeb

what a simple solution! and excellent, thank you JKWeb :)
 — Ananke

No problemo Ananke...it reads nicely and that line was a bit of a hiccup...mucho kudos  ;)
 — JKWeb

do you guys get what this is about?
 — Ananke

why do you care

many here will take a good rating even if the poem is completely misunderstood


feminoid varun starr isabelle etc

what makes you different?
 — unknown

I just want to know. I want the language to sound good, but in doing so it makes the poem a little ambiguous. I mean it's crystal clear to me what I meant, but I wrote it.
 — Ananke

I guess that's a no.
 — Ananke

some  metaphorical extension of a biblical event
 — unknown

Not sure what to make of this one -- I enjoy researching, but I'm not sure what it meant by your symbols.  Yggdrasil, the Ash Tree.  Figs.  Canaan.  Its a juxtaposition of Norse myth and the Jewish narrative.  I feel like it should be obvious to me, but its not.  I want to tie in the story of Jesus cursing the fig tree, but I don't think there's enough here to warrant it.

Hope that my honesty illuminates what you are trying to do.
 — root

Thanks for stopping by.

It's kind of a stretch but I'm trying to say the tree in eden, the sacred fig, yggdrasil, the fig that Jesus cursed, they're all the same tree.

More than that it's the parallel of the fig that Jesus cursed to the tree of life. Jesus, being son of man(adam), cursed the fig tree(tree of life) and caused his sons and daughters(israelites/us) to wander in the desert, but that we too have a promised land.

So, as I see it's probably too much of a stretch?
 — Ananke

only if youre crucified

S. tretch
 — unknown

change and find? ok.

the dried figs,
in her lap,
reminded us
of urchins.
 — trashpoodle

Ananke! Hey! This is so very profound! I mean it! I'm a serious Bible student and this poem has given me some excellent food for thought. Not a stretch at all if one's theologically atuned. Again great poem a definite 10 in my estimation, I'd give it an 11 if I could. Very very nice. Ina-Gadda-da-Vida poetically presented.
 — Redlander

I see what poem that would make it, mike. And it's a good one but a completely different one. Who is she? I don't want this poem to be about her.

Hey thanks Redlander. A Bible student too? Oooh that reminds me of all the Biblical symbolism we should talk about in LOST.... ahhaha. Esau is my nickname for Jacob's nemesis. Have you written anything in the theological vein I should check out?
 — Ananke

Hey Ananke! As a matter of fact your poem motivated me to write one with a theological bent which I'm working on  now. I have to wait about 8 hours, however, till I can post it. But like I said yours is a heavy one and I made it one of my favorites. Esau works , I can't wait till Season five comes out on dvd, "Watchmen" just came out on dvd but it's the type of movie that has to be seen on the big screen I may get it though. Some of these scores remind me of Olympic events scoring.
 — Redlander

Finally finished and posted that poem "in the theological vein" check it out when you can it's called "Fall of the Lightbearer"
 — Redlander

genre verse?
 — trashpoodle

no, just taking advantage of familiar images
 — Ananke

the sacred fig has nothing to do with the tree of life
 — unknown

it's the way that they're presented and put into practice which determines how they're going to be read. the problem is that a poem about these kinds of things is simply 'about' them, and an extension out of a genre or type of literature -- a way of telling. and, that's what would make this a genre piece -- if you intend to 'tell a tale'

another form, is to interpret the symbols for us, before our eyes -- and that's a genre, when it's 'devotional', but it's a beautiful genre.
 — trashpoodle

by the way, the 'fig' is a tree, and has always been considered one of the candidates for 'tree of life'. there's a very interesting and wonderful idea, come out recently, where archeologically, it's thought that 'fig tree' was actually the first 'cultivated crop', before 'grains'. the implications are rather awesome.
 — trashpoodle

How can it be a tale if nothing happened yet?

It's an explanation of where we are now. Everything *here*. We're still wandering the desert, we're still in Egypt. We're still stuck in the crusades where all is red and blood. (Isn't the war in Iraq a type of crusade?) I'm saying that we as a spiritual people, whatever the religion, are following this path and we are still wandering, but there is a promised land. How can there not be? In trying to portray the sacred fig as all trees, tree of life, tree of death (cross), the world tree, I'm saying we wandered from it, and now we've got to do something about it.

A tale, perhaps, but not in the traditional sense.

And yes, unknown, the fig tree could be the Tree of Life. Perhaps you are thinking of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? Perhaps you think it should be a red shiny apple?
 — Ananke

the 'tale' part is the story itself? and, you're telling us the first person narrative of what will come. it's connected with the events and characters of the story itself, so is a part of it. and, therefore part of the genre of 'poems in response to the Edda Narrative'.
 — trashpoodle

Then any poem is a genre poem. Take whatever a poem is about and call it part of the genre "Poems about what this poem is about." No?

Anyway, you can call it a genre poem if you like. It's not in response to the Edda though. I've not read that, except excerpts. I'm just borrowing an image, that's all. I should study it more. I'm half Norwegian, and my aunt's name is Freya for goodness sakes.
 — Ananke

no, the notion is that the poem's content comes from another content -- 'the story of buffalo bill' always has buffalo bill as a character. we work in the genre of poetry or verse, but these are specific genres -- you're using the yggdrasil as an image, yes, but not as a metaphor over some other image. like, if you were going,

'i've come to such a pass,
that, far from the yggdrasil,
i cannot know."

then, you'd not be doing 'edda genre'.
 — trashpoodle

It is metaphor. It is not a story about how some people were gathered around the yggdrasil and started wandering away from it. It is metaphor. Even if it wasn't, how can it be "edda verse" when the primary images are all torah? Call it torah verse if you want. I don't know.
 — Ananke

it's a metaphor in your mind, yes. but, for us it's just a story out front, because we can't know the symbolism and intention engineering these words towards your goal. there's not enough information. it's just a story about how, if you were in the world of the Edda, you could think this way, and write a story about what that thinking would look like.
 — trashpoodle

did the Edda get written as a comment on torah? and, has the torah commented on yggdrasil -- it's hard to make anything from the hebrew on this -- anything which might have been carried into scandinavian. what is the connection you're knowing, bringing the images from the torah into the Edda, or even, into this poem -- superimposed upon the poem -- a secret code.
 — trashpoodle

Say you can't read it. Say the images are too obscure for the reader to interpret. But don't insist on turning it into something it's not. I've half a mind to remove that word just to make you stop calling it an Edda poem. It is in the Judeo-Christian world. ALL of the symbols and images point to that. The only reason I brought yggdrasil into it, was to give the impression that this tree that we are wandering from is more universal than that.

I am sorry that you don't see in it what I am trying to say. But I did tell you what I was trying to say, so if you want to help me, why not help me say that better?
 — Ananke

It's not a torah poem either, I was just saying why don't you call it that, since there's more to connect to that than the Edda?

Judeo-Christian symbolism:

fig tree drying
traveling through the seas
parched of salt
feasting in canaan (the promised land)

Norse symbolism:

 — Ananke

you -- YOU -- are the one naming this after a token in the EDDA! the yggdrasil doesn't exist in any other space.

all of what you're saying in the poem revolves around the sacred fig -- not a fig on a plate, but the tree. that's the central image and knowledge in this poem -- nothing else. no amount of saying, 'red' is used in the talmud, therefore this is talmudic, can make this into anything but a piece talking through the edda, about edda content.
 — trashpoodle

It is called the sacred fig which in the rest of the poem I detail out how I am comparing the sacred fig and yggdrasil and the tree of life to all be the same tree. How could people wander from yggdrasil to reach canaan unless it was the SAME TREE. That is my entire point, and that is the point that if you don't get, makes this poem suddenly genre and fable instead of something universal.
 — Ananke

all of what you're saying in the poem revolves around the sacred fig -- not a fig on a plate, but the tree. that's the central image and knowledge in this poem -- nothing else.

Exactly. Yggdrasil is an ash.
 — Ananke

unfortunately, the notion of biblical canaan is prior to any scandinavian symbol. a scholar might work this poem to show that the wandering was from canaan to scandinavia -- that the connection was palpable.

to make a 'simile' -- that the tree of life is a universal symbol, you have to underpin it with a conceptual structure to allow that to have been possible. for that, we have fraser and jung and von daniken and who else, but it's a theory, only.

what you're doing in the poem is combining and showing, that's true, and you can be the author of the theory, and need not tell us so, or need explain -- Yeats did this often, winging it through the poem on his daily myth.

what appears, though -- and that's all we can see -- is an odd combination of symbols. and, it feels sloppy -- it feels like the look of a small town parade, where people on a float are wearing swedish costumes and holding a menorah and saying "guess who i'm supposed to be".

as genre, though, you can write this for a particular audience -- a sunday school class or bible meeting -- and have it work. there, you'd be able to explain whatever anyone didn't get, and they'd infuse their hearing or reading with these extra things: the story of the tree of life, and the life ever-after... world without end, as we used to say.
 — trashpoodle

why do you care

many here will take a good rating even if the poem is completely misunderstood


feminoid varun starr isabelle etc

what makes you different?
— unknown         &nbs p;[!]

LOL!  Coward.  Get a life.  :-)
 — starr

No scholar would interpret it to mean they were wandering away from canaan. That's simply not supported by the lines.

Look, mike, thanks for the input. I'm not saying that this works the way I want it to, but it doesn't work the way you're saying it does either. If you can help me make it work the way I mean it to, then by all means do. Otherwise I don't really need any further explanation of your interpretation.
 — Ananke

gee thanks starr.
 — Ananke

oh, the unknown. whoops :)
 — Ananke

in any case, 'cursed to burrow' is to make a worm crawl under the sea, or a mole, and the mole is become the traveler. the 'here', in 'everything here', is beneath the seas, with mr. mole. the "red of marrow" is inside the bones of mole, or, figuratively, the interior of the earth, under the sea, and "red" as a conceit, since our interior, we think of as being 'red'. then, the simile, which is nice -- the red becomes red of wars and of spires -- flames or in the sun, burning -- perhaps meaning 'compelling'.

make it through the oceans -- we're in our submersible hummer and driven up to the surface of the bottom of the sea, and we're driving to canaan.


we will call the fruits...

overlaying, 'when we reach we will call the fruits...". and, line fourteen/seventeen is an emblem, a freezing of the time meter for a still-shot, a close up on this major image you're giving.
 — trashpoodle

no, of course the scholar wouldn't, because you're saying we're wandering from the image of yggdrasil to canaan. it's a conceit, not a logical thing at all.

this is a play-poem, juggling different kinds of words and different images, from different sources, as a tour-de-force, but it hasn't enough intellectual punch to make the image, to build the conceit that one thing is the same as another.
 — trashpoodle

"Look, mike, thanks for the input. I'm not saying that this works the way I want it to, but it doesn't work the way you're saying it does either. If you can help me make it work the way I mean it to, then by all means do. Otherwise I don't really need any further explanation of your interpretation."

what you don't seem to understand is that it doesn't work because your theology and philosophical structures are getting in the way of saying anything at all. if you want this to just be a little tee-shirt motto, then it can't be critiqued as poetry. but, if you don't want to be critiqued intelligently -- or, in this case, you don't have the academic background to understand what i'm talking about -- assuming, only, as you do that some theological dogma is 'obvious', when, it's not obvious that it's an ash being talked about -- that's one theory, and only one -- and the actual image you're giving is going to be the one we read. we shouldn't here have to know the current thinking of the four-square church or church of science or scientology in order to have the politically correct reading of your poem so that we can give you a politically correct 'critique'. in your case, you'd only accept 'spell-check', i think, because 'a poem shows the truth', and, if we couldn't read the truth we'd be stuck. and, if we crit too critically, we can just go cool off in a concentration camp or something.
 — trashpoodle

Spires mean churches, as in the red of wars is the same red of church spires, it is all the same.

Going through the oceans is parallel to the Israelites crossing the RED Sea, when God parted the waters? Only we're cursed, and He won't part them anymore, and we have to burrow beneath.

I'm sorry you don't get all the symbolism, but this IS written from the perspective of someone who grew up in the church, and aren't you the one who says you have to read a poem based on the author that it's coming from? Well then it is up to the READER to interpret the symbols from that perspective, not the poet to explain everything out just in case they don't get it.

I GET that this is too obscure. I get that. I never claimed this poem to be perfect, but you are not helping me to edit it to do what I want it to. You just keep offering interpretations of the way it is now. SUGGEST SOME CHANGES. OR maybe I can write another that spells it out more. But it DOESN'T mean it's uninterpretable the way it is.

From my perspective a lot of your poems are tough to interpret the way you intend them to be, UNLESS you take into account everything in your background.

I don't want just spell-check, and I do appreciate what you've gone through the trouble of explaining to me, it's just that I don't need anymore interpretation on it, please, and thank you? I'm really offended every single time you tell me I am not educated enough to understand your words. If you feel like you're talking to monkeys and all we hear is gibberish, then why talk to us? I really don't need that kind of condescension.

If you don't mind I'd like to leave this crit-space open for some other interpretations.

Please, and thank you.
 — Ananke

And this isn't in line with the current thinking of any church. If I said it to my parents, what it means, what it really means? My parents, missionaries in Nicaragua would think I'd forsaken God. But I haven't.
 — Ananke

Ananke—I’m not a student of the bible, nor am I religious in the conventional sense, but that doesn’t mean I can’t understand the essence of this poem.  From my point of view, this is a poem about hope, a very good poem about hope, and that’s all the reader really needs to know—don’t you think?
 — PaulS

Thank you Paul! Yes, if you can get that from this poem, that is exactly what I intended. Universal hope apart from what we know of religion or life thus far.
 — Ananke

cripes, why not say it's a poem about jello, because of the fruits and colors. if you don't want critique, then don't post a poem here; if all you want is just affirmation that you're thinking correctly and have the right values and sentiments.

it's very insulting to feel that i'm interrupting a serious discussion with my frivolous questions, when it seems to me that this is a very superficial poem, without focus, and corrupt wording, just because it has to deliver a 'message'.

it's propaganda, or a witnessing, but it's not poetry.
 — trashpoodle

Come off it mike. If we don't interpret your poems the way you intend them to read, it's our fault. If you don't interpret our poems the way we intend them to read it's our fault too.

I think your problem is that you don't want to admit that you initially misinterpreted this, so instead you spend forever trying to defend what you initially read.

Like I said, I get that this is too obscure, and I understand that it's a flaw. I THANKED you for your critique. It doesn't mean I don't want critique. BUT you are also not fully correct in your reading.

You don't have to be a church member to understand this, just aware of Judeo-Christian symbolism, and how can you not be if you have studied even a few of the classic poets?

How can it be insulting for me to ask you to quiet down a little now? I understand what you intend to say about my poem, I'd just like to hear some more input. That's all. Or are you the only authority on poetry?

You're insulting by always telling us we do not belong in the world of poetry unless we can write the way you want us to.
 — Ananke

the --- has ... blah blah ...

dried sacred fig

did they teach you nothing at school about sparsity?

parched salt

or oxymorons?
 — unknown

i remember you writing well?
 — unknown

your comment helps, but blame at least half of my confusion on my less-than-sharp poem-reading skills.  there's a lot more clarity on revisiting.  i think, as with music, re-experiencing is essential to really hearing.
 — root

I never commented before.  I was too wrapped up with the offensive unknown.  This is beautiful.  It has a biblical kind of feel to it like the stories our parents might have told us when we were kids.  I like it.  It's got that post Sodom and Gamorrah kinda vibe about it.  Not sure if that's a good thing, but it IS very hopeful from what I can see.  I also can appreciate your choice of words.  Yeah...
 — starr

this is a poetry workshop and you haven't the experience talking with other poets about your work. your experience in dialog seems to be to slap and run. you're not going to be a mature thinker until you actually allow someone else to have a valid point -- and that won't happen until you learn concept and conceptualization.

it's not about interpretation, it's about simple logic: this poem is a collection of symbols told by someone who doesn't want more from them but to make a banner showing their belief. that's why it cannot work as poetry.

if this is only supposed to be the high-school poetry club, then you shouldn't allow any mature thinker to ever visit and talk about your poetry. ask them only to sit and shut up and watch the pageant of "sir lancelot and maid marion in sherwood castle, starring ananke".
 — trashpoodle

It becomes about interpretation when half the things you are saying to me are based on an incorrect interpretation. Such as that this is "witnessing" in any form. If anything it's the opposite. By red of church spires, I'm saying that the church is just as bloody as war. How is that proselytizing?

I allow valid points all of the time, and I have allowed many of yours - such as that this was too full of symbols juxtaposed in a mishmash for anyone to get anything useful out of them. I admitted that that was probably true. Regardless, several people have seen what I am trying to say with this.

It is you who have devolved into slap and run. Anyone can see that. I may be too stupid to understand the depth of your insanely intricate dialogue and logic, but not too stupid to understand when I'm being insulted.
 — Ananke

root - yes, I find that is often true with music, poetry, many of the arts.  I'm glad you revisited and found some more clarity.

starr - haha, um thanks I'm glad you dig my vibe, but I think I can tell that it's not quite your style ;) that's quite fine by me, no need to tiptoe. I won't harangue you like I'm doing mike here unless you tell me bogus things like since this poem is under the ground it must be about a mole! Or ATLANTIS!
 — Ananke

i think that's the problem, that you subsume a discussion on possibility into 'that's your opinion'. i just don't think you're coordinated in the kind of thinking that i'm used to. my experience is with talking with major poets, yes, but also with local and coffee house writers and people who've never even known that what they were writing was 'poetry', until that talked to other writers.

the power and fascination of writing poetry is what a critical discussion is about -- and, just proving dogma, and that the poem is consistent because everyone knows the story, makes for a vapid discussion of 'nice poem'.

calling my discussion 'insanely intricate' is to pretty much show that you haven't had a serious discussion in your life that didn't involve just trading 'i like...' back in forth, against 'i don't like...', and calling it a 'debate' or something. again, you haven't the critical experience, and, most importantly, you don't know when to further the dialog by asking the right question. that's what makes me think that you're desperate for some kind of success and recognition and willing to get it by slander and cheapening your critics. i understand that isn't the case, that you're simply not experienced with talking to college professors about your thesis, or defending your poem in a live critical situation, and that you can't be judged like a college grad or vocational poet. but, that means that you're going to have to join the hobby set here, and share craft-constructions of poems made out of someone else's phrases and thoughts. there should be a label on poems posted here of that kind, to avoid these embarrassing discussions.
 — trashpoodle

by the way, when you write 'beneath the seas', it's not the same thing at all as 'under the sea' -- it's beneath the physical body of waters, and that puts it in the earth -- burrowing, then. and, what burrows? a mole, say, to make the image.

and, salt -- but, this is a code word "salt' means something in some context,  evidently -- salt is good, evidently, because being bereft of it given over to wars and 'spires' -- which is also a code-word, maybe? 'spires', and we cannot know it directly, because it's not of the same thing for us as 'wars' -- though both may be red, and jello may be red and full of fruit, but not yet named, because our submarine has come not yet to canaan, where we will feast on the original fruit of the sacred fig or tree or vines and roots to come.
 — trashpoodle

Mike my "insanely intricate" comment was sarcasm.

Perhaps I would like to join those ranks of hobby poets if those are the ones you leave alone and find not worthy of your time. Some great poets have day jobs.

You're just parroting yourself back out again and frankly it bores me. I've had plenty of dialogue with professors and other real-life poets. I can hold my own with them. If it's only you who has a problem with me, then I can deal with that.

 — Ananke

Yes. It is meant to mean through the earth and not under the sea the little mermaid style.

Spires is not a code word. I have explained it to you already. CHURCH SPIRES. Steeples. Here is the church, here is the steeple.

The red is THERE in the earth, not in canaan.
 — Ananke

why, then, is spires 'red'? is it because of a corruption of the church, or, the most logical, since it's next to 'wars', that the church is involved in wars? possible as church-militant, or, instead, "one of the causes of war"? -- these are real questions, and the kind of question any sophisticated reader is going to ask.

obviously, the red isn't 'in' canaan, because you don't say it is. what you do say is that we are going to burrow under the earth, somehow, with the sacred fig -- or else, since the fig has died we must burrow under the earth to canaan, to find it again, and superciliously rename whatever fruits we find there after what we called them in fig-ville?

'cursed to burrow' is classically pretentious writing -- the posturing pushes the reader to some sort of high ground of "we can see the truth", and that's not a gesture really fulfilled in this poem -- we see a statement of names and a correlation of names with the names of places -- one place -- and this metaphorical allegory of the eternal tree and eternal fruit is a little game of 'find the symbol'.
 — trashpoodle

"why, then, is spires 'red'? is it because of a corruption of the church, or, the most logical, since it's next to 'wars', that the church is involved in wars? possible as church-militant, or, instead, "one of the causes of war"? -- these are real questions, and the kind of question any sophisticated reader is going to ask."

geez louise mike, I already basically said as much. YES this is what I am speaking of.

I wrote in a previous comment:

"We're still stuck in the crusades where all is red and blood. (Isn't the war in Iraq a type of crusade?)"

The crusades were religious wars!

and again

"Spires mean churches, as in the red of wars is the same red of church spires, it is all the same."

and again

"By red of church spires, I'm saying that the church is just as bloody as war."

YES the RED is the BLOOD on the CHURCH'S HANDS.

You call this a game of find the symbol, yet when I tell you that the symbols are easy to read, you say it is not a game of interpretation but that I should take this to my Sunday School class. I assure you no sunday school class would appreciate this poem.
 — Ananke

the 'blood on the church's hands' is a political thing, and a private opinion -- propaganda. none of us need agree with this, therefore it's not going to be innate as 'truth' in this poem.

ananke, the symbols aren't 'easy to read' if their not part of a shared cultural experience. the crusades were part of our culture, but they we'ren't a bad thing per se -- they were life as those people knew it and knew how to live it. certainly, that was the case for the saracens. and, what has that to do with the sacred tree of life, anyway? because a stronger poem might talk of using it as a hanging tree -- where the belief in superiority of the knowledge of the truth 'caused' the knowers to try to destroy the 'ignorant'.
 — trashpoodle

So is gay marriage a political thing and a private opinion but we're free to talk about that and write poems about that aren't we?

No one needs agree with anything that's written. That's why we all have rational faculties. It doesn't mean that the ones writing it should stay mum?

I did write a poem about the hanging tree right after 9/11, but that's a different poem from a different time.

There is more death involved with the church than just the crusades and whatever they were, there IS blood on the church's hands, and I'm not just speaking of the Christian church in this poem. That was just an example. But that's another reason why I needed the tree to be yggdrasil, because I am speaking of the red of SPIRES as a symbol for the church, but really it needs to be more universal really it's any of our reaching upward. And there is blood involved with that no matter which way you put it.

It has to do with the tree of life in that we forsook the tree of life, and in doing so were cursed, and now this desert land we are in is a result of it.
 — Ananke

And the symbols *are* part of a shared cultural experience, even if you'd never heard of Christianity and took but one English Lit class, you would find these symbols familiar.
 — Ananke

a poem on 'gay marriage' would be lamer-plus. but, a poem about your marriage breaking up, and how pissed you are that 'marriage' was a sham when it didn't involve shared commitment -- that would be a possible poem -- if you didn't just word it as " hee was a child in a man's body, and didn't talk to me enough" -- and, that would be so universal that it would just talk about human relationships and your own ability to have a relationship, and how society defines our relationships. and, that wouldn't be gay at all, just 'human'.
 — trashpoodle

by the way, you're overlooking the fact that your symbols are being interpreted by you dogmatically -- theologically -- and your particular understanding of what those symbols mean is going to be particularly you and not for everyone.

read 'sailing to byzantium' and see how Yeats works his symbols. they're there, and available, but he doesn't force us to see through the symbols in order to see the world beyond. they 'represent', but the actual move and gesture in the poem is 'being old, and being out of it, and having a dream of a fine world'. you're offering that, but it's as though yeats' would have given a travel description of the town of byzantium, and didn't say anything more than that, because it would be 'understood' that byzantium was this fine and holy place, where no thought was held, but that it was within a fine web of religious thought.

you keep on that i don't know this stuff, but i was raised episcopalian and steeped in those symbols. they're what i know, but they're not the only things i know -- not just that i know more symbols, but that i know how symbols come to be included in a religion, and for what reason. that's an important thing, and a knowledge which will inform my reading of your poem. you needn't at all write a poem for someone like me,  but not to pay attention to the kinds of things i'm asking makes you seem superficial about this all -- no matter how strongly you feel about what you believe in. and, you certainly haven't asked or been interested in my theological or anthropological interpretation of your poem -- nor, of the poetic structure of this poem, and how it works, and for whom and why -- and, why it doesn't work as poetry for me.  it's all 'interpretation' for you, like you were slapping down a fresh kid's asking why you didn't talk about transformers in your great poem too.
 — trashpoodle

Why would I be interested in your theological interpretation of my poem when you are sitting there telling me that it's witnessing, propaganda, and belongs in sunday school?

My symbols are being interpreted by myself and others the way they should be in a poem that is being interpreted in the context it was written in! Aren't you the one who's always on about understanding the poet to understand the poem? You have never once asked what my own religious views are which would greatly help you understand the poem.

Instead you tell me what I think and how I'm thinking it and why I say what I say. Instead I'm supposed to ask you, "Oh, since you think it's utter shite and deserving only of high school pageantry, please oh please tell me what you think of this aspect of it?" Right.  

You told me why it doesn't work for you and I told you that I can see that. I am supposed to ask you to tell me more while you tell me that I can't even understand your comments and am not worthy of dialoguing with you? Why would I want to do that if I wouldn't be able to understand it anyway, according to you?! And why would you want to give of your hard earned time if it's going to be wasted? Please tell me.
 — Ananke

And frankly, Yeats is not my cup of tea, save a few. Read Donne and then tell me that religious symbolism doesn't belong in poetry unless it's completely vacant of meaning adding nothing to the poem.
 — Ananke

because your theological interpretation of these symbols informs this poem. do you know the term 'informs'? it means that it's the paradigm, the mind-set, in which this was written. it's a private thing, and not a thing of nature -- it's a mental act: conceptualizing the events of the world according to dogma.

there is no church, there's an institution called 'the church', but that's not a thing of nature. and there are many 'churches', and that's the point of mentioning the foursquare church and church of science and scientology: these are separate 'churches', with their own interpretation of the facts. we cannot believe in those interpretations unless we accept the particular church as an embodiment of 'truth'. the truth is that people invent religions. there's nothing wrong with that, but it's like inventing 'boy scouts'. who would know what a poem going:

"looking for baden in baden,
and paul the scout, seeking..."

unless they knew the history of boy scout? --
that too is a cultural knowable, and part of our world, but not part of everyone's practice and belief system.

if you're not going to look at Yeat's "sailing to byzantium', objectively, to see poetry moves and an example of one kind of poetry, then you're not up to this discussion. it's not about whether you like Yeats, it's about how honest you are in a discussion: wanting to see exactly what is going on in your poem. especially when someone as knowledgeable as i am on poetry suggests it to you in a critique of your own work.

so far, you're very disappointing as a poet. you've written a sloppy poem, according to one critic, and you're satisfied like a piggy with, 'that's ya'all's interpretation. around my part of the woods we don't hold for no city talk'.

and, don't mention John Donne, the Master of Religious work. it's not that he says the right kind of thing, it's that he's totally and wholly informed by the spirit and the word, and simply, in the devotional sonnets, cannot write a phony poem. you're a million miles from where he's writing from -- a million miles away, and on your own planet Walt Disney, with your casual images and commercial exploitation of religious symbols.
 — trashpoodle

This is very Lawrence's "Birds, Beasts and Flowers" on some level.  (The Italians, Lawrence proves, have always loved the fig, I suppose.)  There is also a new poetry book out - and of course the poet escapes me - called "Feast," which I've skimmed.  Both worth a read by the poet of this poem!
 — WordsAndMe

hush words, please put this poem back where you found it, i don't want mike to see it again.

I will check those out though :)
 — Ananke