Hello, poets! It seems redundant to say this but I can’t believe that it’s October already. This year has been a frenzy of thought and action for me and time’s malleability continues to astonish me. I hope that you all are doing fabulous in your parts of the world and your poetic expression is blossoming and blooming, despite the change in weather.
As some of you must know, I am studying journalism and it’s been a whirlwind of a journey thus far. The thing that I both dread and like the most is to involve people in a conversation while I am out reporting. One exercise that we often do (both for hard news reports as well as features) is to profile people. Recently, I got to meet an (internal) migrant worker and spent some 3-4 hours talking to him while also observing every little aspect of him as he went about working.
As a reader, it is interesting to read these stories that people carry within themselves as well as to get a picture of who they are in words even when you have never met them.
Look at the vivid descriptions of Charles Bukowski and how he makes a person familiar and known through his verse,
Sunday, I am eating a
grapefruit, church is over at the Russian
Orthodox to the
she is dark
of Eastern descent,
large brown eyes look up from the Bible
then down. a small red and black
Bible, and as she reads
her legs keep moving, moving,
she is doing a slow rhythmic dance
reading the Bible. . .
long gold earrings;
2 gold bracelets on each arm,
and it’s a mini-suit, I suppose,
the cloth hugs her body,
the lightest of tans is that cloth,
she twists this way and that,
long yellow legs warm in the sun. . .
there is no escaping her being
there is no desire to. . .
my radio is playing symphonic music
that she cannot hear
but her movements coincide exactly
to the rhythms of the
symphony. . .
she is dark, she is dark
she is reading about God.
I am God.
Did you notice the specific details (2 gold bracelets, long yellow legs, etc.)? It is not an in-depth profile because he didn’t talk to her but he still paints a picture and I, as a reader, feel that I recognize her, that I see her.
We come across so many people every day. Sometimes while walking to the beach or traveling by train, I encounter some people who demand our attention by their mere presence and I automatically profile them in my mind, at times even building a plotline of their lives. Let’s read how Walt Whitman sees a stranger,
Passing stranger! you do not know how longingly I look upon you,
You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking, (it comes to me as of a dream,)
I have somewhere surely lived a life of joy with you,
All is recall’d as we flit by each other, fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured,
You grew up with me, were a boy with me or a girl with me,
I ate with you and slept with you, your body has become not yours only nor left my body mine only,
You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as we pass, you take of my beard, breast, hands, in return,
I am not to speak to you, I am to think of you when I sit alone or wake at night alone,
I am to wait, I do not doubt I am to meet you again,
I am to see to it that I do not lose you.
Apart from the strangers, we already know so many people — friends, family members, relatives, classmates, colleagues — we continue to meet and know new people throughout our life. Some have a special place in our hearts and some have certain peculiarities which make them so fun. To profile them can be tricky but including an event about/around them can certainly provide an interesting image/narration.
by T.S. Eliot
Miss Helen Slingsby was my maiden aunt,
And lived in a small house near a fashionable square
Cared for by servants to the number of four.
Now when she died there was silence in heaven
And silence at her end of the street.
The shutters were drawn and the undertaker wiped his feet—
He was aware that this sort of thing had occurred before.
The dogs were handsomely provided for,
But shortly afterwards the parrot died too.
The Dresden clock continued ticking on the mantelpiece,
And the footman sat upon the dining-table
Holding the second housemaid on his knees—
Who had always been so careful while her mistress lived.
What can be more difficult than profiling ourselves? I wonder how many artists have made such excellent self-portraits — to give yourself away in a portrait is a scary proposition for me in some ways. But self-portraits/profiles can grab the reader or viewer, with their honesty and expression like nothing else.
by Afaa Michael Weaver
I see myself in the shadows of a leaf
compressed to the green blades growing
to a point like the shards of miles of mirrors
falling and cracking to perfect gardens.
I never inspect the withered assumption
of my face’s petty dialogue in raindrops,
the deceptive spreading of the words
oozing from the skin to the edges of water
etched on the ground by gravity and wishing.
Passing for the seriousness of my eye,
platitudes of my white collar or
the perfect posture of my lips, it skirts
from the leaves of the plant hiding me
and sits stoic like stone in my pupil,
mute and unassuming, like Rashi.
To gather myself I will swim naked
in the wind, bending my blind elbows
in circles, stopping now to dance
like the cherubic gold on the ark,
and gather myself from the particles
of this excitement another structure,
one closely resembling the beginning.
This is Anmol (alias HA) and I welcome you all to Poetics Tuesday here at dVerse. This week, I am exhorting you all to write/create a profile/portrait in your verse. You can go about it in a variety of ways — you can write a descriptive piece about an interesting person you met today or profile a loved one (or perchance someone you don’t like at all) or think of an event involving one or multiple people and write about the things as they transpired with people in the focus or perhaps do a self-portrait. It is open to interpretation but there are certain tools that can enhance a profile/portrait, for instance, rich details, movements, sensory descriptions, quotes, et al. Choose any or all.
Once you have written and published the poem on your blog, add its link in the widget below. Don’t forget to include a link to dVerse or this page in your post, as that would enable your readers and blogging friends to visit and participate in dVerse prompts too.
Do visit the links of other poets and share your words/comments with them. I look forward to seeing you on the trail and I wish you all a beautiful week ahead.