Monday, May 5, 2014

"Do Młodego Przyjaciela" - A Guest Poem from Nanynka

We are exploring various loves for the moment, and my dear friend, Nanynka offers her poem for consideration. Love, friendship, longing, and reflection.

Thank you, Nanynka for sharing your lovely, heartfelt poem: Do Młodego Przyjaciela (to a young friend). Your loving comments, gentle critiques, and responses are appreciated!
* * * *   * * * * 

I like you
as I liked my little sister
those few days when she was vunerable;
when I saw in her someone who mirrored me -
and was beautiful.

I yearn over you
as I yearn over a different life I might have lived
had I been braver, more aware
a life in which my parents made me stick with my sonatinas
when I was too shy and childish to make myself.
A life in which I traded top bunks:
my own for a distant college dorm's.
A life in which I married young - 
young enough to become a mother
with my own sons and daughters to yearn over.

I dream of you
as I dream of a girl I wish I knew
though I am afraid to approach
because the crowd around her 
neither asks to be remembered,
nor expects to be carried onward.
She owns so many of my dreams
but so many more belong to you.

I love you
with some share of the love I have for the boy you remind me of
and I love him
with some share of the love I have for you.

And I don't know how you are all of these things to me
when all I know of you
is a little music;
an hour at your side; talk of snow
and small towns;
also, countless times I've watched a light come suddenly into your face
and attempted to understand why.
It's a little shameless of me, that watching,
but it's hard to miss the chance to know you better.
We have you for so little time.

I pray for you
as I prayed for my hedonist, who sang Handel -
two hours of fervent music, two hours of wild prayer -

and I pray for you
as I pray for my long-ago student, who mocked fear
and laughed at God
but shared his earphones
and hugged me to his trenchcoat;

and I pray for you
as I pray for the ones who are mine by blood
though not my own -
upheld in empty arms and heart spilling over, as you are -
when I see in them "the pure, the bright, the beautiful"
and intercede without words,
terrified at what could happen to their hearts
and their minds,
 their bodies
and their souls
in this rapacious world.

I pray for you because
there's almost nothing else I can do for you
so I do it with all my might.



  1. It's not that I don't have a comment. I do. But this is the sort of poem I have to read a few times through to formulate my thoughts and Masha fiercely guards the computer battery... So hang in there. I'll have something to say soon.
    -The Neglected Husband

  2. It's funny, the lines I can't help but come back to over and over again are the music lines... practicing sonatinas (which carries so much imagery in just the choice of music style, not "stick with my inventions" or "stick with my concertos" or "stick with my impossible Rachmaninov" but sonatinas; delicate and beautiful but damn hard), your wild hedonist and Handel, and the earphones/trenchcoat combo. There's something about these moments that strikes me as true - not in the sense that the rest of the poem isn't because the work as a whole smacks of honesty - but in the way that as this poem worms its way inside the author it finds deeper and deeper truths where music takes on a persona of the self. Does that make any sense? It sounds stupidly pretentious but I'm not sure how else to express it.

    And maybe its because the poem altogether has a songlike quality to it - sort of litany-esque. There's a chanting lilt to the progression and particularly emphasized in the final few stanzas of prayer. And that bit in the middle, the shameless watching (awesome line), breaks in between the slowly building "like, yearn, dream, love" before it all crashes into "pray" over and over again. It balances the tone like a bridge in a song that keeps the whole thing from crawling along like a caterpillar. It's not just a list, but it's not random either, there's a distinct and well-plotted order.

    I guess that's all to say, I like it. At first it doesn't seem to demand too much except a second or third reading and by the time those are over the hidden depths start to let themselves out, building on each layer of repeated reading. Like a fugue.

    -The Neglected Husband

    1. Neglected Husband, this comment made my day. Thank you!

      as this poem worms its way inside the author it finds deeper and deeper truths where music takes on a persona of the self. Does that make any sense?

      I don't know whether you meant 'author' or 'reader', but—if I'm understanding you correctly—I'll speak positively to the former. If my experience as a musician is anything like typical, and I believe it is, music (like any art) can be characterized as the self finding its way outward in ways it cannot do through everyday interaction. Certainly music is part of what brought my friend and me together, and the self he expresses through his music is both part of the mirroring from the first stanza, and part of what made me love him enough to write him poetry.

      That this communicated itself to you as a reader makes me feel successful as a writer. :)

      You write like a poet. Thanks again for your kind response.


  3. I agree with Seth; it's an unexpected poem, minding its own business, and with its quiet it draws you into profound depths. And--a litany! That's it exactly! Something you say over and over again and layers on meaning each time. Sort of like how you say a familiar word and it starts to sound strange and then you hear it for the first time.

    1. I do love a good litany. Litany is sort of ingrained into my thought processes, I think, so it's great to hear that's how the poem came across! Writing blank verse in simple words is new to me—this was literally my first such piece, so it means a lot to hear that you guys are hearing the felt depths in it. Thank you, Christie!


  4. You're a sweetheart, mysterious unknown poet <3

    1. Now I feel all heartwarmed. Thank you, Laura! <3