“Who Are You?” by Jack Marcus.

I recently watched a brilliant movie called Words and Pictures about an English teacher (who is a failed writer) and an arts teacher (who is a failed artist) get into a fight about whose media is better used to describe emotions and the real life. What I loved about this un-pretentious movie was the fact that these two head-strong characters were pulling each other out of their hole. Sometimes you need a bit of interaction to get out of a bad place.

My favourite part was the reading of the poem Jack wrote.

“I am a small poem on a
page with room for another.

Share with me this white field,
wide as an acre of snow,
clear but for these tiny
markings like the steps of birds.

Come now.
This is the trough of the wave,
the seconds after lightning.
Thin slice of silence
as music ends,
the freeze before melting.

Lie down beside me.
Make angels.
Make devils.
Make who you are.”

So you see? This poem is an invitation to the reader…
SWINT: To lie down in the snow.
DINA: To reveal himself or herself, and that’s what you’ll do, not with words, but with a drawing or a painting that shows us what you feel, what you see as you read this poem, okay?

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The second bit I liked was caught by a fellow blogger:
http://jpbohannon.com/2014/07/03/movie-review-words-and-pictures-dir-by-fred-schepisi/

http://jpbohannon.com/tag/i-am-a-small-poem/

Written by theFerkel

8 Comments

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Barbara

This poem speaks but words of a friendly wanderer, enjoying that of the time with others. Room exists for more than just myself. You can be good and you can be bad, but you shall be accepted. The blank page is yours, and you are free here, like everyone else. Come on, why do you wait?

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Barb

FTR, SPOILER… It turns out the poem was not written by Jack, but by his son. Jack took credit for it, but later confessed.

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Robin Leslie Jacobson

I’m a big fan of the ars poetica genre (for perhaps my favorite, look up Archibald MacLeish’s “Ars Poetica,” at http://www.poets.org), and wanted to share this poem with other members of my master class. I quite like it, despite its flaws, for what it’s about (ditto the movie).

Thanks for posting it, because it’s unintelligible at the end of last line when read by Juliette Binoche (lovely reading otherwise) and all over the place in the song setting over the credits–not to mention on screen for only seconds, and even then out of focus, when an intoxicated Jack Marcus posts a printout of his son’s poem on his home bulletin board. I was able, between reading your version and watching those few seconds of the film over and over, to come up with the accurate wording (you were very close) and line breaks (I like some of yours better, but I see where the screenwriter/poet, Gerald DiPiego, was going with his). Anyhow, for better or worse, here’s how it appears on the page in the film:

Who Are You?

by
Jack Marcus

I am a small poem
on a page with room
for another.

Share with me
this white field,
wide as an acre
of snow, clear
but for these tiny
markings like the
steps of birds.
Come. Now.

This is the trough
of the wave, the
seconds after
lightning, thin
slice of silence
as music ends,
the freeze before
the melting. Hurry.

Lie down beside me.
Make angels. Make devils.
Make who you are.

It is, as Binoche says, a terrific prompt. I’m going to give it a try, in words, not a picture. Backatcha if I come up with anything worth sharing.

Thanks and cheers,
Robin

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Robin Leslie Jacobson

That wasn’t a Web address. I meant for readers to “Google me.”

I don’t have a website (shoemaker’s children and all that), but my poems can be found here and there; the best, I think is in Parabola magazine’s online version (poetry section of Summer 2011 issue): https://www.parabola.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=264&Itemid=240

A number of litmags and anthologies list me as a contributor in tables of contents; occasionally, a reviewer puts in a kind word. Gracias.

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