Tuesday, July 15, 2008

“Deep Eyes”, by Darlyn Avina

Deep Eyes

Eyes are like a hole,
a hole with a sparkle that shines.
Once you’re cursed with it in your life
there is no way out of that curse of a hole.
It feels so bad that you think your eyes
are falling into the moisture in your head.
Once that hole shines again it’s made into a shape.
Its background is white with a color in the middle.
Remember that curse you will see with for the rest of your life.
But after all that pain you will see everything.

-- Darlyn Avina

Last month at Poetry & Pizza we had a crew of poet teachers from California Poets in the Schools. I got from them last year’s CPITS anthology and started reading it on the BART ride home.

Children’s poetry. You know, I find I can like it as well as poetry by grown-ups.

Darlyn Avina was in second grade (Millview Elementary School, Madera County) when “Deep Eyes” was written.

The poem reminds me of certain translations; I’m thinking of ones I’ve read from Eastern Europe, or early French surrealists or dadaists. Also some primitive poetry – shaman songs. When I say the poem seems translated, I mean that it seems to carry over a strangeness from another language, a way of speaking that is taken for granted in that other language but which in English seems nonnative. I suspect English is Alvina’s native tongue.

The poem proposes things you probably hadn’t considered – your eyes are a curse? – but which, once suggested, seem peculiarly reasonable. Well, yeah, the eyes can be a curse sometimes. Eyes are holes? Holes. Windows is the usual metaphor, but, you know, I can grok holes. The poet speaks with authority, no hesitation about it, no I think maybe.

“But after all that pain you will see everything.” And that’s … a good thing?

source: My Song Is the Light: California Poets in the Schools Statewide Anthology 2007, edited by Mary Lee Gowland

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