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Original Poem: "Funky Notions" with Commentary

Updated on February 14, 2018
Maya Shedd Temple profile image

Writing poetry became my major composing activity circa 1962, and taking a creative writing class in 1963-64 deepened my growing interest.

Old Woman with Ring in Nose

Source

Introduction and Text of Poem, "Funky Notions"

The poem, “Funky Notions,” features an outgrowth of musing from an old granny woman as she faces two generational gaps. It ultimately explodes and flattens the notion that younger generations always think new, and older generations always think old, tradition, stale, thus unimportant and oh, let's not forget, hate-filled. Even though a generality might prevail, it is more likely unfair stereotyping to label the older generations with any epithet.

Funky Notions

Nothing needs to come out of this blistered brain
At least as far as the eye can see
Where is the ditch into which the wheel has dug?

Do I want three lines, or four, or more
Is all the problem I can muster—Oh, how I must be
Blessed to have such trivial incongruities?
Where are the windmills when you need them?

No, I will not castigate this heart for this—
It existed way before the lava in my mind began
To gurgle on the rim of possibilities.

Oh, watch it, Granny—you could frimbulage your children
Who have an eye for those things that you spew forth—
Doesn’t matter that your heart is a sanctuary for the downtrodden

The unmixed, the ultimately blessed and wait!
Where did you just go? No, I didn’t go there . . .
Of course, you did, you (stops for a swig of lightning) . . .

Anyway, Love is such an all inclusive word . . .
But then they admitted they did not know what Love is
And you have always felt that Love is all you know

Little wonder they do not understand you or their own children
Who must languish because you are afraid
To offend with your funky . . . notions . . .

Commentary

“Funky Notions” grows out of man old woman's facing two generational gaps and blows open the notion that older generations are more traditional than younger ones. Even though a generality might prevail, it is more likely unfair stereotyping to label the older generations with any epithet.

First Movement: "Nothing needs to come out of this blistered brain"

Nothing needs to come out of this blistered brain
At least as far as the eye can see
Where is the ditch into which the wheel has dug?

The speaker begins her musing on chaos by stating her notion that she does not have to respond to events with her “blistered brain.” The old begin to feel that their brain has been set afire with so many years of tatters and screws.

But the idea of not responding goes only so far, and the problem of a “ditch a wheel has dug” will remain unless some sort of tool has at least tried to dig it out.

Second Movement: "Do I want three lines, or four, or more"

Do I want three lines, or four, or more
Is all the problem I can muster—Oh, how I must be
Blessed to have such trivial incongruities?
Where are the windmills when you need them?

The speaker questions the number of lines she needs. A throwaway line by anyone’s guess, except for the fact that this movement does remain out of step with the others, having four lines while the others have only three.

She admits the line problem is trivial and is thankful for such a blessing, but she then wonders where all the windmills are. Perhaps she fancies herself Don Quixote, which will seem fitting once all her quixotic tendencies are calculated.

Third Movement: "No, I will not castigate my heart for this?"

No, I will not castigate this heart for this—
It existed way before the lava in my mind began
To gurgle on the rim of possibilities.

The speaker announces that she will not speak ill of an emotion that she encompassed even before the time she began to overthink details of her life. Her thoughts spill out, and she must contend with them, whether she grasps them as possibilities or impossibilities. The brain does not equal mind, anymore than love equals heart—or what's a metaphor for?

The stinging lava of mind will continue to gurgle until the heart learns to still itself in the shelter of many ancient tomes that cover well the present as well as the past, but also make it clear that old and new have always been relative to each other.

Fourth Movement: "Oh, watch it, Granny—you could frimbulage your children"

Oh, watch it, Granny—you could frimbulage your children
Who have an eye for those things that you spew forth—
Doesn’t matter that your heart is a sanctuary for the downtrodden

The speaker now is revealed as a grandmama as she does in fact begin to “castigate” herself by proxy. The smattering of angst and pallor remain in her arenas as the first generational gap inserts itself.

Readers will not be blindsided by the coined term, "frimulage" (confuse profoundly), because the idiosyncratic peculiarities of this speaker fairly scream their presence.

Fifth Movement: "The unmixed, the ultimately blessed and wait!"

The unmixed, the ultimately blessed and wait!
Where did you just go? No, I didn’t go there . . .
Of course, you did, you (stops for a swig of lightning) . . .

While her heart has been “a sanctuary for the downtrodden,” her direct offspring have obliterated love from their lives, making their mother anathema to them. The speaker then has a mini-tiff with herself about the subject she has just broached.

Sixth Movement: "Anyway, love is such an all inclusive word . . ."

Anyway, Love is such an all inclusive word . . .
But then they admitted they did not know what Love is
And you have always felt that Love is all you know

After a “swig of lightning” (coffee? booze? water?) brings her back to the issue, she states rather literally the problem: her own offspring have eschewed living in love for the poor things have "admitted they did not know what love is.”

A state with which Granny cannot identify, as the old woman has always felt that love was “all [she knew].” The capitalization of the word "love" elevates the term from mere human emotion to the level of the Divine.

Seventh Movement: "Little wonder she does not understand you or her own children"

Little wonder they do not understand you or their own children
Who must languish because you are afraid
To offend with your funky . . . notions . . .

Granny now summarizes and concludes that the issue of the generational gapping has to do with the issue of love—"Love." She cannot impose her “funky notions” on the grandchildren—that "love" does, in fact, exist, and so does "Love." She does not wish to “offend" anyone with those notions.

© 2016 Linda Sue Grimes

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