Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Have you ever gone through some of your old writing and stumbled across a file that absolutely rings no bells? I just did. I sat there for ten minutes asking myself, "When the hell did I write this?" I still don't know.

The title of the poem in question seems so oddly specific, and yet I don't remember it at all. I've had this happen before, but usually I finally have an "Aha!" moment and realize it was something I scribbled down during an adolescent writing phase, promptly forgot about, retyped years later, and forgot once more. This is different though. It feels like something I would have written around 2010.

Here it is for your perusal, amusement, and judgment if you wish.

Don’t Cry, Violet

Spring faces push up, burgeoning,
bursting into common air;
while fingers are petals and patinas and wishes,
the wind floats by without notice
and scrubs the patina away.
If fingers are petals and patinas, our hands
Are withered
And whittled
And wrung.
Hate blows the pollen of despair across our faces;
faces fade and fester in the winter of the soul
and bury tomorrow under a silt of woe.
It comes up yesterday fresh and young;
fingers stretching to the sun.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Good Earth

This book came recommended to me from a number of people. I can appreciate that it was extremely different from what was being written in America at the time, and I think it gave great insight into the lives of poor Chinese during the time in which it was set. However, I didn't love it. I may just be bitter about the ending, but it felt like a letdown to me.

Here be spoilers!

After everything Wang Lung has worked for and accomplished, all thanks to his land, his sons have the audacity to lie to him on his deathbed and agree to sell the precious land away.

I couldn't believe it. I guess considering the eldest son's frugality, being a grain merchant, and the middle son's friction with Wang Lung's traditional ideals, I shouldn't have been so surprised, but I was.

The descriptions of the earth itself were wonderful. I loved the sections where Wang Lung was out in the field. My heart hurt for O-Lan and then again for Lotus Blossom, but I know women were treated very differently in this society and age, so I can grit my teeth at the injustice and bend my head in acknowledgement of Buck's capturing a society. I was glad to see such good treatment of Wang Lung's eldest daughter, even though she will ever only be called Poor Fool.

Side note: I read somewhere that this book produced feelings of strong kinship between Americans and Chinese before the start of WWII, thus giving the U.S. a firmer basis with which to consider China allies. I don't have a source for this and don't know if it's completely factual, but, if so, I'm glad.

It is a good book, in many ways. Just not one of my favorites. I would love to hear from someone who would place it among their choicest selections of literature though.