Treasuring Poetry – Meet Arthur Rosch, a brave poetPosted: February 20, 2021
To day, I am very excited to be hosting author and poet, Arthur Rosch, with his thoughts about poetry. I consider Art to be a brave poet as he poetry is so brutally honest and cuts to the core of difficult and emotional matters.
Over to Art:
My favorite poem is “Prophet”, written in 2001. Here it is:
Oh lord, oh lord,
what has befallen me?
That which I hoped to make straight
only becomes more twisted.
That which should be understood
only becomes more strange.
How did I come to this unexpected shore?
What am I to make of the walking wreck of myself?
I can still think, still work,
still speak in poems
in the sleepless time of the night.
It is a mixed gift, this life, it is hard
to feel so completely lost
in complexity I don’t know how I made.
I wanted to be a radiance
but I am more like a garbage can
tipped by a raccoon in predawn hours.
I pick myself up,
I sweep my contents
into a tidy pile,
but each time I think to rest,
I am again overturned.
I speak to you, o lord,
like the wounded Jew,
like the baffled bloodied prophet,
like the broken fated sage.
I take help from any quarter,
even those with dangerous denizens.
I take comfort with the scorpion,
I sleep with diseases,
I marvel and lament
at my scattered state,
at my continued surprise that I am alive,
that I move my limbs with some dim purpose,
that I have any faculty left to cry out to you.
Oh lord, what has befallen me?
You see, I have nothing but questions.
It could be much worse, I freely admit.
It could be much better,
I ruefully entreat.
Pieces of me have gone numb.
Whole continents of my psyche have been submerged,
I am the world I have made.
I am a man, dreadfully incomplete,
unwilling to meet the terror,
reluctant to behold the fire,
shrinking always from the worst case,
taking the hand of any wiser being,
like a lost child who needs to be led home.
I shall try now, lord, to snatch a bit of sleep
from the bottom of the night’s cup.
I’m glad we had this little talk.
I thank you, uncomfortably,
like one who has opened the wrong gift
at the wrong party.
Oh, is this for ME?
I’m not quite sure it fits,
I’m not sure how to use it.
I’ve broken it a little
but it still works. See?
I’ve tried, I’ve hopped on one foot,
I’ve danced insanely.
I’m still here,
waiting for your soft voice
to bring me peace.
You can listen to Art reading this poem here:
This poem is first of all my honest expression of vulnerability. It speaks of the paradox of the human condition in a way that echoes biblical expressions. Hence the name, “Prophet”. I am admitting to my grave faults, the problems that I have encountered that have led to my loss of innocence. Once I wanted to be a shining light and now I can barely raise my eyes to the sky. I have always been a man of spiritual aspirations but I am crushed by disappointment in myself. What has become of me? How did I get like this?
The year I wrote this, 2001, was a difficult year. I struggled with addiction and poverty and wondered whether I would survive much longer. I love this poem. There are lines that are like daggers, yet still it is a comfort to make this prayer. I haven’t lost faith. I’ve accepted that I have made my own quagmire and must come to terms with it. I will take counsel with anyone or anything. I sleep with diseases and ask the scorpion for advice. That’s my desperation; that even though I’m in the wrong place I can still find ways to make alchemy: that I will profit from this situation in spite of, or because of, my pain.
And another very different favorite:
Ghost voices grow
like weaving spires in the corridors of the night.
Stalactites of moonlight,
they hum and fade
through the wake of other minds.
A sheet of star rain in the night,
a mist of lightfall lost from sight,
these spectral hints emerge
from the night floor in the dark.
Silver waving plants recede forever
singing in twinkling winking echoes.
Ghost voices, shadow worlds
arise and converse,
while my sleep waits beyond the hills,
You can listen to Art reading Crazy here:
This poem came from a dream, or a half-awake hypnogogic state. I probably wrote it in the early 70s. I love surrealism and this poem is an artifact, a surreal object that conjures images by way of abstraction. It was inspired by a piece of music by Tzvi Avni, a composer of dream-like electronic music. I don’t know if anyone will understand it and I don’t recommend analysis. It’s meant to be enjoyed, like a painting or a photo. Images of sleep and dream pervade. Various kinds of eerie light engage the senses. Stalactites of Moonlight. Yes, this is way up there in my personal hierarchy of poems.
I think poets write for themselves. I never expect anyone to read my poems. And if they do, what will they make of them? I read a few poets. I enjoy Rilke and Lorca, In high school I had a passion for e.e.cummings. I still do. It’s more fun to write poetry than it is to read it. When a poem occurs for me, I’m in love with the language. I’ve made it do something it’s never done before. It takes skill to make language exude vision and emotion while remaining relentlessly original. Can I possibly convey how I feel in love? I certainly try, using the magic of words and rhythms. I once had a dream that people spoke in a magical language that was both alien yet comprehensible. As they spoke, pictures emerged from their mouths and then faded away. It’s an apt metaphor for poetry. Or a reality of cartoons. It was a dream that I’ll never forget.
My favorite poet is Jelalledin Rumi, the Sufi mystic who lived in the 12th century in what is now Afghanistan. There’s a line of Rumi’s that brings me great peace and comfort: “Don’t worry about what doesn’t come. By not coming it prevents disaster”. That line had real consequences in my psychological life. It eased my frustration at my lack of recognition. It contains a deep truth, which is that things ripen in their own time. If I had been successful in my youth I may not have survived to old age. I didn’t have much wisdom or self control. These days I often read poetry in columns from one of my favorite internet venues. Otherwise I don’t go out of my way to read poetry. I give attention to my fellow living poets, to be sure, but I’m not going to offer critiques. I find that reaching into the deeper layer of emotion allows me access to poetic sensibilities that are rich with material. In this way poetry and psychotherapy are close cousins.
About Arthur Rosch
Arthur Rosch is a mid-westerner, who became a Californian as a young man. A lover of jazz, poetry, painting and photography, and writing, as well as a passion for astronomy, photography, history, psychology and the weird puzzle of human experience. After receiving Playboy Magazine’s Best Short Story Award for a comic view of a planet where there are six genders, he was immersed in circles that could have taken him to the top, but it was short lived. Arthur found himself reeling, struggling with depression and addiction on the streets for almost a decade, and repairing and rediscovering himself was a defining event in his life, nurturing his literary soul. He is currently a certified Seniors Peer Counselor in Sonoma County, California. Come visit his blogs and photo sites. www.artrosch.com and http://bit.ly/2uyxZbv.
Purchase Feral Tenderness
You can read my review of Feral Tenderness here: https://writingtoberead.com/2021/02/19/blogtour-day-5-my-review-of-feral-tenderness-by-arthur-rosch/
About Robbie Cheadle
Robbie Cheadle has published nine books for children and one poetry book. She has branched into writing for adults and young adults and, in order to clearly separate her children’s books from her adult books, is writing for older readers under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle.
Robbie Cheadle’s Sir Chocolate children’s picture books are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision. Her books for older children also incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.
Roberta Eaton Cheadle’s supernatural stories combine fabulous paranormal elements with fascinating historical facts.
Children’s picture books – available as a square book and an A5 book (co-authored with Michael Cheadle):
Sir Chocolate and the strawberry cream story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the baby cookie monster story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the sugar dough bees story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Condensed Milk River story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Crystal Caves story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Fondant Five story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Ice Cream Rainbow Fairies story and cookbook
Middle school books:
Silly Willy Goes to Cape Town (includes five fun party cake ideas)
While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with Elsie Hancy Eaton)
Open a new door (co-authored with Kim Blades)
Supernatural fantasy YA novel:
Through the Nethergate
Horror Anthologies (edited by Dan Alatorre):
Paranormal Anthologies (edited by Kaye Lynne Booth):
Spirits of the West
Whispers of the Past
Murder mystery Anthology (edited by Stephen Bentley)
Death Among Us
Find Robbie Cheadle
Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram
Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books
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