|Image from avajae.blogspot.com.|
Lorine Niedecker's "You are my friend"
You are my friend--
you bring me peaches
and the high bush cranberry
you water my worms
you patch my boot
with your mending kit
nothing in it
but my hand
I'm glad I watched the video discussion! Otherwise, I would have been stuck with the macabre image of a severed hand in the boot of a car.
I loved reading the poem again. "My hand" has so many levels of meaning: Independence, the act of writing, the power to choose. I also liked how the poem turns the tables on a conventional reading like Margaret Atwood's "You Fit Into Me." She begins with gifts being given: peaches, high bush cranberry. Then moves into acts of service like carrying a fishpole, watering worms and mending a boot. The last line deliberately disorients. What I thought, initially, to be a bitter ending (well, I don't have a friend, I only have myself) can actually be read as a happy self-sufficiency and, more than that, I also liked how this self-sufficiency is also the act of writing itself.
Among the poets we've taken up, I really enjoy Niedecker's brand of thumbing her nose at convention. I guess that's why I like her.