Jacki K Challenge, memoir with image(s) and metaphors


(www.whatwillmatter.com at Google Images)

The painting might be depicting the story of Narcissus and Echo, but I can think of no better way to think of the self as through reflecting into glassy water. And the art looks like the pre-Raphaelites again, a favorite school of mine.

The Song of Myself by Christopher Whitman (by me)

The title is an homage, of course, a
Metaphoric salutation to the great
Transcendentalist, who also was
A correspondent in the Civil War, up
Close to the blood-washed fighting

Do I see myself as a war? I do not
But rather see myself as a struggle in
Stillness, like the water in a pre-Raphaelite
Painting—reflections on reality were
Important in that school; they are
Important to me now

I reflect and, as best I can, marvel at the
Metaphor so wondrously used by Paul
In his assertion that we see through the
Glass darkly for now—and like a dim
And frosted mirror, I see myself as best
I may, while on this side

The song about myself, then, that I might
Sing, is one of dissonance—I don’t know
If Whitman heard any of his words set
To musical notes and then performed—my
Song would be entirely syncopated and
In minor keys, a monstrosity of jazz, a
Movement barely born when he wrote
About the war and then about you and


(www.dreamstime.com at Google Images)

You know, it’s impressive what you can search for while at or with Google Images. First, I searched “the self.” Then I searched for “a small house” and then “a small brick house,” because that’s what I was really looking for. And, I’m sorry, I selected two images because self and small house were too compelling to enter into competition.

My Small House

I lived in a small house after
Being born in a hospital since renamed

The photo above is neither mine nor
Theirs (the other members of my
Family), although the resemblance to the
Actual look is surprisingly close, because

I view this house only in memory now
And for some many years: a red-brick house
With greenery in front, behind; a pointed
House too small for four brothers and Mom
And Dad , and then my sister arrived—so

We were not there so long—and yet this
House is my earliest memory box; take
Off the top by grasping at the point, and see
Inside images of my father reading, my
Mother cleaning, and the me I saw
Once within a mirror, after coming home

From the hospital again—four, now, and
Having fallen onto the hard floors
(Wall-to-wall carpeting would be next,
For sure) and splitting my four-year-old
Forehead open: in this image, I see me

Head bound up, wearing my favorite
Shirt (I don’t know how I know this), red with
A seal stitched on the front and balancing
A ball upon his circus nose

Wound and red and balancing—metaphors
Too soon worked out in the troubled new