Monday, March 31, 2008

The Poet Knows It

Clearly, I am not worthy. Poets are, for me, real life wizards. Poets break down words and images and suddenly your insides are going "ugh" or "oh!" against your will (the blasé call it economy of language).

April is National Poetry Month, a month where I traditionally harass friends and family with poetry forwards that celebrate my love of words and not-so-secret geekiness. Some have Brad or Angelina, I have Raymond Carver, Billy Collins and Grace Paley. Swoon.

To kick off the month, a poem from my first book of poetry -- an anthology that I picked from the Scholastic book order catalog we'd get each month in 3rd grade and bought with my allowance. This was also a year that I dreamt of an all-pink sweat suit from Nordstroms, so it might not be the most sophisticated poem, but it's one that (like the pink sweat suit) captured my heart in the moment.

Interlude III / Karl Shapiro
**this poem was rated a smiley face by my 9 year old self**

Writing I crushed an insect with my nail
And thought nothing at all. A bit of wing
Caught my eye then, a gossamer so frail

And exquisite, I saw in it a thing
That scorned the grossness of the thing I wrote.
It hung upon my finger like a string.

A leg I noticed next, fine as a mote,
"And on this frail eyelash he walked," I said,
"And climbed and walked like any mountain-goat."

And in this mood I sought the little head,
But it was lost; then in my heart a fear
Cried out, "A life--why beautiful, why dead!"

It was a mite that held itself most dear,
So small I could have drowned it with a tear.

No comments: