POeT SHOTS # 2 - Ray Greenblatt talks about a Lisa Baron Poem.

                                                                                                                                         by Lisa Baron

I do not remember the one
sharp pain, being carried
by the neck to the dark forest,
or the bites into the soft
of my stomach. I first remember
the calls of the others
inside the Royal Bengal
asking me to join them
on their walk through
the halls and libraries
of the great beast's
limbs, or along its spine,
and sometimes to the round
of its tail. I was told I, too,
would become a great
storyteller. That soon
an insatiable hunger to tell
would come to me.
That the dead only know
when the living need
to hear from us--
that I would learn to ignore
their pleas and prayers
when needed.

And as the light fell this evening,
the great hunger came. And so
we have gathered around
the great drum of the tiger's heart
and are slapping bass tones
into the coils of its ears.
He ignored us at first,
but we were insistent.
We entered the soulful water with him

and now wait, half-submerged
behind the leafy cover of a bush,
can see behind the golden mirrors
of the beast's eyes the men
pulling their boat to shore
to gather honey among the mangroves.
I do not remember leaping
on the back of the man
as he moved toward the trees.
I only remember
whispering in his ear,
trying to calm him, telling him
his grandfather was waiting

with the rest of us
in the great belly,
that he was anxious
to tell him a story, that one day
he, too, would crave
to tell someone something.

       This is a fine poem. It has all the ingredients: a strong opening; rhythmic meter; a non-pausing narrative; selective but vivid imagery ("golden mirrors of the beast's eyes"); double entendres (the hunger to eat and to tell); insertion of modern elements ("slapping bass tones"); etc.   

        However, what makes it especially fine is the unique approach and theme: inside the tiger "live" other people who walk the halls and libraries of his limbs, spine, tail.  Telling stories is what motivates humans; and the dead know the needs of the living.

                                    - Ray Greenblatt