February 24, 2015

Poetry of Stuff: February 24th, 2015

One of the lessons I’m trying to learn/teach myself, is the art of letting go.  I am experiencing a teachable moment, right now, as WordPress decided to go “pear-shaped” as a gal I know would say.  I had completed today’s blog post and all but about 20 words vanished into the ether.

So, here is the reproduced-from-memory (and re-typed poem).  Call me Hemingway.

I knew there was a poem that perfectly expressed what I am trying to do in this blog*.  When I finally stumbled across it**, I did a quick google search to see if someone else had already posted it on the Internet. That was when I discovered that the poet in question, Philip Levine, died 10 days ago, on February 14th.

Edited to add: Mike thinks it is important to make it crystal clear that (a) I did not author the poem, Philip Levine did and (b) I did not have the poem memorized, I consulted the book again and typed it in again.  I hope no one other than Mike was confused…

Without further ado, then, here is the aptly named poem:

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Genius

Two old dancing shoes my grandfather

gave the Christian Ladies,

an unpaid water bill, the rear license

of a dog that messed on your lawn,

a tooth I saved for the good fairy

and which is stained with base metals

and plastic filler.  With these images

and your black luck and my bad breath

a bright beginner could make a poem

in fourteen rhyming lines about the purity

of first love or the rose’s many thorns

or the dew that won’t wait long enough

to stand my little gray wren a drink.

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Day 117 Scorecard: 585 down, 1,240 to go.

* to write interestingly (if not in rhyming lines) about the everyday objects that clutter up our lives.

** in the best anthology of poetry ever.  Modern Poems, whose two editors both died between finishing the book and the book being printed, lived in Korea and Montreal with me and has survived every book purge I have ever had.  It will never go 5 Down.

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