Thursday, May 22, 2008
Marjorie Evasco’s Origami is about getting a message across to a distant beloved. The poet uses the image of an origami shaped in such a manner that “[t]his poem is a crane” (line 7), a winged symbol with the capacity to reach a faraway person if only through a poem.
The use of the word “Origami” for a title makes perfect sense because what paper folding is to art, poem is to literature. Both art and literature, specifically in their concrete forms taken into account in this paper, origami and poetry, wield power in order to render things possible; it is not a wild improbability that a poem, highly imagined as a crane acting as a messenger of the persona to the addressee, can send messages.
The poem’s first three lines manifest the persona seeing “this world unfold, gather up wind/To speed the crane’s flight” (lines 1-2), alluding to his/her opening mind, gathering up ideas in order to crystallize rapidly a message that must be known to the beloved “North of [his/her] sun” (line 3). It can be surmised that persona misses the beloved, and that this longing motivates him/her to conjure up a poem for the lover, evident in the succeeding lines.
The next three lines show the persona “shaping this poem” (line 4) as someone would produce an origami “[o]ut of paper, folding” (line 5) in order to seem to shorten the “distances between [the persona’s and the addressee’s] seasons” (line 6). They are on separate points of the world, experiencing different seasons, and in the persona’s yearning for them to seem to be near each other, he/she, in a way an origami practitioner does in order to make things happen out of potent creativity, composes a poem to unite him/her and the addressee even if only in thoughts.
What the persona creates at length is an origami of a poem, “a crane” (line 7) with “wings [that] unfold” (line 8), poised for flight, ready to communicate the poem’s content from the composer to the distant lover. “The paper will be pure and empty” (last line) when the poem consummates its purpose of getting its message across, as in an analogy when the paper bird finally discharges its mission of the persona’s keeping in touch with the addressee.