Lucy as a Work of Art by Jennifer Finstrom

Lucy as a Work of Art
—Secrecy has this disadvantage: we lose the sense of proportion; we cannot tell whether our secret is important or not. –E.M. Forster, ‘A Room with a View’

You’re reminded of the chapter titles
in E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View
where Lucy is variously lying to George,
Cecil, Mr. Beebe, Mrs. Honeychurch,
Freddy, the servants, and Mr. Emerson.
Not that you’re specifically lying to anyone,
but there is a growing current of things
remaining unsaid, and this makes you
uneasy, makes you think, too, of what
you choose to include in poems and
what you choose to omit. Last night
you found the conversation you were
having over dinner difficult, weren’t sure
which of your stories to tell or how
to tell them. On the first date you went on
with this man, he told you that your
eye contact was unusual but a turn on,
and last night you gazed at him steadily
as you sipped your beer, unsure of what
you were trying to convey. Forster’s novel
chronicles Lucy’s search for beauty,
truth, and love even as she was lying
to herself, and you think of George
discarding her postcards of The Birth
of Venus and the Guido Reni Madonnas
because he didn’t want her to see
that they’re covered in blood. Every poem
you write could be different, could offer up
that one detail that changes everything.

by Jennifer Finstrom

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Twitter: @jenfinstrom

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Editor’s Note: Poems written in second person point-of-view are strange and unsettling, and this choice perfectly supports the oddity of this narrator’s thought pattern.


8 responses to “Lucy as a Work of Art by Jennifer Finstrom”

  1. Ralph Culver Avatar

    Auden (famously) said poetry might be defined as the clear expression of mixed feelings. This poem is a very good example.

  2. Bruce Guernsey Avatar

    Ummm . . . I thought this column was called “Autumn Sky Poetry,” but I don’t hear the “poetry” in this prosody, in this series of sentences broken into supposed lines by a margin set by Word Perfect, or some such, but certainly not by a human ear or pulse. Here’s a test: just try memorizing any of this and you’ll hear what I hear. Ain’t no music there . . . a rambling blog post, yes, but not a poem.

    1. Patrick Green Avatar
      Patrick Green

      Do you sit at home and gatekeep what you feel is poetry on the internet? How many of your students felt the sting of baseless criticism? Was it just the women or were you an equal opportunity mansplainer?

      The lack of character it takes to troll art merely to criticize and insult is astounding and speaks to you more than it does the poet.

      I wish I knew what posseses a man to be so obsessive. No. Actually I do not. Whatever your issue is is not the author’s issue.

      Special thanks to the editorial staff to continue to publish art, beauty, and poetry.

      1. bottlelover Avatar

        I’m a woman and a former student of BG. I happen to completely agree with him. I’m sick of prose trying to pass itself off as poetry. It’s not trolling; it’s throwing up one’s hands after seeing so damned much of it, and it’s speaking out!

      2. Patrick Green Avatar
        Patrick Green

        Your keyboard courage and authority over the written word and expression is noted.

      3. bottlelover Avatar

        That was supposed to be a joke? I’m an antique bottle collector, as well as a well-published writer of poetry. I don’t see BG attacking anyone. Instead of attacking the critic of this poem, and those who might agree with him, why don’t you defend the poem itself point by point? Convince us it’s poetry, not prose.

    2. Christine Klocek-Lim Avatar

      I’m closing comments now, for the first time ever on a poem on Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY.

  3. Robert Bradshaw Avatar
    Robert Bradshaw

    Excellent poem. It takes on a difficult subject and handles it beautifully.




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