Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tuesday is Poetry Day in Second Life

Tuesday is Poetry Day for the The Guild of UK Writers in Second Life and this week's theme was Love. After last week's first time reading for me, I was willing to do some searching for suitable material to bring along and to give reading aloud another try. If you click on the photo above you will see Harriet, the convener or organizer standing by a microphone in the centre of the Stone Circle, while I'm in the centre front, sitting on a stone with my back to the camera. The one with the red curly hair of course.

As I said last week, the people reading use voice while the everyone else types in the message bar. Several readers read from their own work and from other poets but while I was hearing all the readers and the sounds from Milkwood, like the owl hooting, I was not receiving any of the messages. I had a picture on the screen and it seemed to be live so I clicked all my preferences furiously to see if I had made some terrible technical error and I even sent messages to Harriet and another SL friend who was there. Harriet knew that I had brought two poems to read but I would not be able to receive her instant message when it was my turn. Finally I broke voice silence myself and found out that I had crashed early on and no one could see me although they could hear me and I could see and hear everyone else. Mighty strange, don't ask me how that could possibly occur. In any event I read my two poems and was advised to log out and log back in again and so I did, catching the end of the program with full participation.

Just when you are congratulating yourself on how clever you are, something comes along to cut you down to size and make you humble again! However everyone was very kind about it all, since if you visit Second Life regularly you get used to crashing.

I won't bore you with both the poems I chose although each was very different from the usual love poem. To be in Love from the renowned African American poet, Gwendolyn Brooks, was the one I preferred but I'll let you follow the link to that one if you are interested. Instead I'll reproduce Variations on the Word Love, by Margaret Atwood who is probably the most preeminent Canadian writer today. Internationally known for her fiction for which she has won many prizes including the Booker Prize and the Arthur C Clarke Award and the Giller Prize, she has also published 18 volumes of poetry so she is well respected as a poet and may well define herself as that rather than a novelist.

Variations on the Word Love

This is a word we use to plug
holes with. It's the right size for those warm
blanks in speech, for those red heart-
shaped vacancies on the page that look nothing
like real hearts. Add lace
and you can sell
it. We insert it also in the one empty
space on the printed form
that comes with no instructions. There are whole
magazines with not much in them
but the word love, you can
rub it all over your body and you
can cook with it too. How do we know
it isn't what goes on at the cool
debaucheries of slugs under damp
pieces of cardboard? As for the weed-
seedlings nosing their tough snouts up
among the lettuces, they shout it.
Love! Love! sing the soldiers, raising
their glittering knives in salute.

Then there's the two
of us. This word
is far too short for us, it has only
four letters, too sparse
to fill those deep bare
vacuums between the stars
that press on us with their deafness.
It's not love we don't wish
to fall into, but that fear.
this word is not enough but it will
have to do. It's a single
vowel in this metallic
silence, a mouth that says
O again and again in wonder
and pain, a breath, a finger
grip on a cliffside. You can
hold on or let go.

I wonder what next week's theme will be, however I'll have to give it a miss since my daughter and her family will be arriving here on Friday for two weeks, so I'll be busy playing hostess and visiting all the children's haunts in Vancouver.


CherryPie said...

I hate it when technology messes around like that, it makes me feel a bit dumb even though I know it isn't me! I really enjoy Margaret Atwood's novels and the poem is refreshing. I just know you are going to enjoy your daughter's visit and all those children's haunts :-)

-eve- said...

I've never read a poem like that. Held my breath. Thanks for posting it :-)

Janice Thomson said...

You have great perseverance JMB - I'd have given up :) I'm not a fan of Margaret Atwood's poetry but I must say this was a great piece you chose.
Hopefully next time it will work out for you in SL.
Have a wonderful visit with your family!

Liz said...

THat's a lovely poem. I didn't Margaret Atwood was a poet as well.

How frustrating the crash must have been but you still miles ahead of me in the techie stakes, the way you so easily and regularly enjoy visits around SL.

mutleythedog said...

I think it must be be cool to be invisible and go round reading poetry as a disembodied presence...

I liked the poem as well..

Lord James Bigglesworth said...

I think you've found a Third Life there, JMB - but not too much alcohol consumption now! :)

Quaintly Tuqiri said...

Thanks for your comment on my post :)

That's a lovely poem. I had no idea that Margaret Atwood wrote poetry - I feel so woefully uneducated now! The group sounds like something I'd be really interested in. Is it only open for UK residents to join? On the other hand, it might be tough for me to attend the readings due to time zone differences. *sigh*

Chrysalis Angel said...

Loved the link. I think I'll print that one out, It's beautiful.

sally in norfolk said...

wow you are really into this second life day i will have a peek :-)

Moggs Tigerpaw said...

Don't worry about it JMB.

My friend Dalia just went invisible on me the other day. Not sure if anyone else would have been able to see her as we were alone at the time.

She was there and could see me. We could talk. But no way could I see her. Had to relog to fix it.

Ellee Seymour said...

I wonder how different Love is in Second Life to First Life. I shall dream on....

Dr.John said...

This reminded me of the time I was doing "Morning Meditations" on the radio. I called the meditation in rather than drive to the station and when I was supposed to go on somebody at the station pushed the wrong button and I delivered the meditation to a dead phone. There was no indication I was no longer on. It was a good meditation too.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

love that poem, which I hadn't seen before. I do admire the way you have got to grips with SL!