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Unread 09-27-2020, 06:43 AM
Andrew Mandelbaum's Avatar
Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is online now
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Portland Maine
Posts: 3,511
Default muludhara


The wires held pinned between
shoulder and chin
to bow out the soundings
that shake through the bridge,

I brought you to sea,
only the ever shifting sea
where, at the crest of the arc
you sing to song out.

Daughter, after the drift and foam
you will make land,
digging dust from air,
every sun-spitted particle
mustered into soil.

Fate flecked off these strings,
rosin swept up in your breath,
the notes slurred into grace.

Last edited by Andrew Mandelbaum; 10-03-2020 at 06:47 AM.
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Unread 09-27-2020, 06:50 AM
Allen Tice's Avatar
Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Brooklyn, NY USA
Posts: 4,915

I see a violin, not much else yet. Might be back later.
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Unread 09-27-2020, 07:12 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,675

Yes, a stringed instrument, no doubt — though the instrument might be the daughter.

I can't comment on the Muludara aspect except to say this poem has a zen quality to it that is soothing. What I do see is the daughter at the center.

This one, like many of yours, needs uncorking to fully savor. Some corks are more difficult to dislodge than others, but this one seems to slip out of it's snug harbor nicely. I don't quite understand it, but I enjoy it.

Stanza 4 is gorgeous.
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Unread 09-28-2020, 04:35 AM
John Riley John Riley is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 4,366

Hi Andrew,

My son, who is now well on his way to becoming a Navy SEAL, is also a violinist. It was in many ways the center of his childhood and just Friday we discussed how critical all those years of solitary practice has been in his training, how it taught him to go to a quiet, meditative place that carried him through many a day and night of hellish training. Perhaps I'm imposing my experience, but I feel that here. It is held between the shoulder and chin and I like what you've done with the bridge. Clever.

I've read this several times and wish I had something more to say that I think would massively improve this poem. But to me it is pretty much done. It strikes me as being a whole. For reasons I can't articulate, I don't care for the fourth line of S2. It strikes me as to-to. I have this feeling that you miss an opportunity there. The line is positioned to be the key, almost like a theme statement. Something more substansial and, for me, the "sing to song out" misses the mark. Of course, I have no idea what to do instead and I may be way off base.

I enjoyed this. Thanks for posting.

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Unread 09-28-2020, 06:57 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is online now
Join Date: May 2013
Location: England, UK
Posts: 3,771

Hi Andrew,

If find a lot to like here. I see a young daughter playing the violin, and the father reflecting on her future. I like the way "soundings" and "bridge" in S1 set up a link (a "bridge") to the sea, and how the daughter will "make land" -- the play on "make" as reach and as construct -- and the return once more to the violin.

I'm not sure if "Muladhara" is best title. I guess you intend it as "the root and basis of all existence" and not in the sense of the chakra located in the tailbone, though the latter is initially suggested, perhaps, by the poem opening on other bodily locations (chin, shoulder). I don't know (but I could easily be completely wrong) how much much to do Hindu mythology, philosophy or religion. I wonder if there's non-Sanskrit alternative, something that won't require most of your readers to google -- maybe something that plays on/off the violin theme, or the land/sea theme?

The first stanza is a sentence fragment has no subject or main verb, so I'm not sure quite what the implicit subject is. Am I intended to read, "Muladhara is ... the wires held ..."? Or just "the wires (are) held ..."


Last edited by Matt Q; 09-28-2020 at 04:41 PM.
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Unread 09-28-2020, 08:15 AM
R. Nemo Hill's Avatar
R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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Location: Halcott, New York
Posts: 9,250

This resonates in multiple directions: literal, metaphoric, mythic, etc. I don't feel the need to choose one—to find out if the daughter plays the violin, for instance. My favorite fleeting impression is the superimposition of the bowing of the violin upon the act of procreation, with the seed chakra of the title providing the source of life in the body. And from that taut tension of S1, the birth immediately whooshes out into S2 with its language becoming so airborne as to defy concrete imagery or grammar: only the ever shifting sea and you song to sing out. Oh, I love those two moments of utter release, of complete let-go. And then the poem comes back down to psychological earth, and clarifies relations and philosophical parentage with its direct address to Daughter and the whole experience tied into a landscape in the final stanza, reintegrating all that was necessarily sundered in a consoling breath/wind of grace.

it's a very tight poem, perfectly knit together, yet full of infinite space, Andrew.
Just like the titular a seed that contains all spaces and times within its body.

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Unread 09-28-2020, 11:29 AM
John Riley John Riley is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 4,366

Andrew, I think the violin occurred to me so quickly because of my experience with my son. Perhaps it is or could be different with someone without that experience. I didn't address the chakra itself. Perhaps it's a superficial level, I don't know the difference quite often, that the root chakra is here associated with music and sound. I bring that up because I may be missing the point of "you sing to song out" entirely. I do love the ending stanza.

Felt the need to readdress my comments on that line.

Truly enjoyed reading this.

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Unread 09-28-2020, 04:35 PM
Cally Conan-Davies Cally Conan-Davies is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 4,241

At once deeply private and creation-mythical, this is one of your most successful evocations of the vibrating tensions of the universe. It's gorgeous, my wandering one!! It's so light, and deft, and vast, that I can't imagine tinkering with it any further.

You have given form to the forming, music to time.

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Unread 09-28-2020, 09:13 PM
Mary Meriam's Avatar
Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: usa
Posts: 7,515

It's a gorgeous poem, Andrew. What strikes me most about it is your voice - it could only be your voice: deep, serious, musical. I also like the shape of the poem - the line lengths and stanzas. I didn't know the word you're using for a title, but that's ok, I guess.
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Unread 10-01-2020, 07:54 PM
Jason Ringler Jason Ringler is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: United States of America
Posts: 112

Hi Andrew,

Beautiful writing. I like how the words sounds together like an instrument as others have said, stanza 1 has the stringy feel to it. "Every sun-spitted particle mustered into soil" is very nice and my favorite. It's imaginative and well done I'd say.
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