Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Bite

My Reading on the Poem “A Bite” by Grace Pomatoc


“A Bite” is a great example of a Cinquain, a poem based on syllables and composed of five lines. It is more than a list of events leading to the realization of the character within the stanzas. It carries a simple but powerful insight which I believe closely resembles one of the teachings within Tantra, the ancient secret tradition which lies behind the great Hindu love manuals such as Kama Sutra:

Kathopanisad

People of small vision pursue sensual pleasures
and walk into the trap that death has set, for the
wise do not seek the eternal among perishable things.
But who is it that enjoys the sights, tastes, smells,
sound and touches of love--who feels? Who is it that knows?
This truly is the point. (8th Century BC)

The poet has chosen the words very carefully that she succeeded to vividly present the exact situation and realization of the character within her poem.

The use of the words “bites” and swallowed” is a very subtle way of enticing the minds of the readers with sexual pleasures. While the strong images produced by the words “beast” and “end” as well as the vivid description of events in the second and last stanzas led me to the pain and regrets of the woman in the Geisha song entitled, “Kawai, Kawai” :

(My dear, my dear)
The firefly singing not
Burns in silence
She suffers more
Than the loud insect who says
“Kawai, Kawai”
Why have I given all my soul
To a man without sincerity?
I regret it. I rather regret it.

Lastly, with the attention that the poet has given to sound, content and precision, she perfectly defined Cinquain as a precise poetic form requiring adult subtlety. She was able to introduce us into true poets’ understanding that formal restrictions are actually springboards that plunge us unto idea and word choice that would never have occurred to us without them.