Thursday, April 26, 2007

Writer's Diary #25: Spider of the Jar (A Mashup)

My first mashup poem was well received, so I thought I'd give it another shot. Here's Wallace Stevens's "Anecdote of the Jar" versus Walt Whitman's "A Noiseless Patient Spider"...

Spider of the Jar

I placed a spider in Tennessee
upon a hill
in a jar.

Isolated, I made the slovenly wilderness
surround that hill- vacant, vast.

The noiseless, patient spider
sprawled around, no longer wild.
Ever, tirelessly speeding,
ceaselessly musing, venturing.

It launched forth filament, filament, filament.
The jar was gray.
Gossamer thread took dominion everywhere
in a jar in Tennessee.


John Mutford said...

Anecdote of The Jar (by Wallace Stevens):
I placed a jar in Tennessee,
And round it was, upon a hill.
It made the slovenly wilderness
Surround that hill.

The wilderness rose up to it,
And sprawled around, no longer wild.
The jar was round upon the ground
And tall and of a port in air.

It took dominion every where.
The jar was gray and bare.
It did not give of bird or bush,
Like nothing else in Tennessee.

A Noiseless Patient Spider (by Walt Whitman)

A noiseless, patient spider,
I mark'd, where, on a little promontory, it stood, isolated;
Mark'd how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding,
It launch'd forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself;
Ever unreeling them--ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you, O my Soul, where you stand,
Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing,--seeking the spheres, to
connect them;
Till the bridge you will need, be form'd--till the ductile anchor
Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul.

Fearless said...

I like it! I really like the Walt Whitman original, never heard that one before. Filament, filament, filament.... so awesome!

John Mutford said...

Fearless, Yes, it is a beautiful poem. To me it really says a lot about Whitman's personality- or what I believe it was.

Allison said...

I love these mashup poems, honestly I do, please keep them coming.

I line in Walt Whitman original, "Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space, Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, --seeking the spheres, to connect them" is my favourite in that poem, and you worked it in beautifully with the spider, kudos!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I like your mashup the best actually.

John Mutford said...

Thanks, I had a few favourites lines from each that I tried to work in. In an earlier edit, I had "promontory" worked in as well. Then I realized that a promontory usually juts out over the sea and it was supposed to be set in Tennessee. Ooops!

Barbara, Thanks! That's high praise. I'm not sure that many English profs would agree, but I'll take it!

John Mutford said...

Edited title: Patient Spider of the Jar