Login   Sign Up 


Cities and eyes 5

by joanie 

Posted: 16 March 2005
Word Count: 188
Summary: An exercise in Poetry Seminar

Font Size

Printable Version
Print Double spaced

Cities & Eyes 5

When you have forded the river,
when you have crossed the mountain pass,
you suddenly find before you
the city of Moriana,

its alabaster gates
transparent in the sunlight,

its coral columns supporting
pediments encrusted with serpentine,

its villas all of glass like aquariums
where the shadows of dancing girls
with silvery scales swim beneath
the medusa-shaped chandeliers.

If this is not your first journey,

you already know
that cities like this have an obverse:

you have only to walk a semi-circle and
you will come into view of
Moriana's hidden face,
an expanse of rusting sheet metal,
sackcloths, planks bristling with spikes,
pipes black with soot, piles of tins,
behind walls with fading signs,
frames of staved-in straw chairs,
ropes good only for hanging oneself from a rotten beam.

From one part to the other,

the city seems to continue,

in perspective,

multiplying its repretory of images:

but instead it has no thickness,
it consists only of a face and an obverse,
like a sheet of paper,
with a figure on either side,
which can neither be


nor look at each other.

Favourite this work Favourite This Author

Comments by other Members

Mac AM at 19:23 on 16 March 2005  Report this post
Hello Joanie, I love the spacial dimension to how you have opened this up. Some of your breaks really slow down the writing and focus on what is being said.

I enjoyed this.


Nell at 08:11 on 17 March 2005  Report this post
Hi joanie,

This piece of writing will always be a poem to me now, and there were shades of Xanadu even before I read about Calvino. Yes, your spacing has slowed the images of the city to a stately procession - beautiful - I like it very much.


Elsie at 18:22 on 17 March 2005  Report this post
Joanie, this works too - now I'm getting all confused! Was there a reason you made the 'ropes' line longer than the rest, rather breaking than after 'oneself' (not a crtiscism - a question.)

joanie at 19:17 on 17 March 2005  Report this post
Hi Elsie. I don't know why - gut reaction rather than design - but.... now you come to mention it.... I think it's because it doesn't break easily. The rest of that section is short, vivid descriptions, but then this line has to run, I think, almost like the ropes.

Thanks for reading and responding. It was an interesting exercise.


lieslj at 19:10 on 21 March 2005  Report this post
Another original take on the given task. Your use of line breaks, in the same way that tc's placement of a single word on a line, helps one to conceptualise that visual effects can enhance a particular meaning, emphasise another.

Very interesting exercise. Thanks to fevvers for the suggestion.


To post comments you need to become a member. If you are already a member, please log in .