This is the literary weblog of Jeffrey W. Hull, M.D., a pediatrician. It is intended mainly as a place to maintain a collection of poetry created for the enjoyment of a few friends and as an archive for my family. All material is protected by US copyright.

Jeffrey Hull

Friday, May 20, 2005


© 2005 Jeffrey Hull - all rights reserved

A river surges through my heart
   To slice my soul in two,
As longing struts its tawdry part
   And hangs my halls in blue.

The poppies bloom along the road —
   They beckon me to stay,
Entreating me to loose my load
   And watch their gay ballet.

The clouds puff distant in the sky
   And hint a face above;
While earthbound I still puzzle why
   I could not hold her love.

And yet the scarlet poppies dance
   Like breeze in true love's hair;
They giggle of the wind's romance
   And sway on springtime air.

© 2005 Jeffrey Hull


'I could not hold her love'

What do you mean by this line?
It could mean, "keep," or "hold on to" in the sense of "retain." Then again, maybe it means to hold in some other sense, as in to hold physically (a more metaphorical idea). Or to be more clear: love can be "held" in the sense that the giver keeps giving it, or the receiver keeps getting it.

To my mind, once a poem is written, it is like a painting. It is interesting to speculate what the artist (poet) had in mind while composing the piece. But far more important is what the painting or poem says to you, in the context of your own experience, and emotions. This is NOT to say that a poem does not have a meaning, that it is whatever you say it is. It does mean that since poetry is an art form of abbreviated expression that involves ambiguities both intentional and unintentional, your "job" is to decide what the possibilities are, and decide which ones the poet meant, or which ones are possible that you like better.

Or, the short answer: "What do you think?"
Those first two lines are worthy of Emily Dickinson. I'm hearing Dickinson in this poem and Hardy and Tennyson in the previous one.
Thanks very much for the kind words. Perhaps I was channelling poetic spirits that day. The words just have a certain power; I don't know quite where they came from, they were just there. I actually began dictating the poem passing by the poppies pictured.

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