Chana Bloch

(1940 / California / United States)

The Color Green - Poem by Chana Bloch

Two floors up, at the corner of Hearst and Shattuck,
he's clamped for good
in an iron lung. When it's time to eat
he nudges his head a sweaty mile
to the edge of the pillow. It takes a while.

His brilliant bloodshot light-blue eyes
steer me from cupboard to fridge:
he would like his chicken burrito
cut into bite-size pieces,
a bent straw for his glass of water, please.

How does the body live its only life
in a cage? I watch him compute the distance
from bar to bar, and squeeze
between them
with a violent compression, a fury of bursting free
that doesn't last.

His will is a crowbar, angled to pry up
the rooted intractable weight
of matter. I watch him slyly, I check out
the way he does it. He
does it. But pain in its absolute privacy
weighs what it weighs.

I come here to study the soul, posing one question
a dozen ways, most of them silent.
"If I'm only a body," he laughs,
"I'm up shit creek." His laugh
a gritty eruption of rock, salt and breath.

Like me he writes poems
but he does it letter by letter
on a propped keyboard, the mouth-stick
wobbling between his teeth.
That kind of speed keeps a poet accountable.
He won't ever say, "The grass is very green"
when it's only green.

Topic(s) of this poem: green

Comments about The Color Green by Chana Bloch

  • (10/20/2016 3:58:00 PM)

    Chana Bloch suggests in her poem that life in the society is like an ''iron cage''. ''In sociology, the iron cage is a term coined by Max Weber for the increased rationalization inherent in social life.'' This system is developed for rational calculation and control. Weber compares this bureaucratization of the social order with the polar night of icy darkness. The human reaction is ''a fury of bursting free that doesn't last. '' The message of the poem is clear. The Bible teaches that the human beings possess only immortal souls -''If I'm only a body, he laughs, '' and ''Like me he writes poems''. (Report) Reply

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  • Mohammed Asim Nehal (10/20/2016 2:57:00 PM)

    Congrats for the POTD
    A poem that truly deserves this honour....Wonderful write... (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (10/20/2016 1:29:00 PM)

    Powerful. Unrelenting honesty. Moving - -almost against its will. A tribute to the will to live. Glad it was posted for us to read- -well worth the time to read and contemplate. (Report) Reply

  • (10/20/2016 11:17:00 AM)

    A beautifully envisioned poem reflecting minute shades of human life. Thanks for sharing it here. (Report) Reply

  • Anil Kumar Panda (10/20/2016 2:43:00 AM)

    Life is full of struggles and one has to go through many tests. Nice drop and congrats for being member of the day. (Report) Reply

  • Col Muhamad Khalid Khan (10/20/2016 1:50:00 AM)

    Congrats Chana for well written piece and being member of the day
    Col Muhammad Khalid Khan
    (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (10/20/2016 12:37:00 AM)

    The grass is very green!
    Life! It takes a while to learn many things.Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (10/20/2016 12:21:00 AM)

    The color green
    Congrats, Chana, for the well-written piece...... (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, March 11, 2015

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