Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Try a Little Poetry

So, you don't like poetry, eh?  How about this one, by Billy Collins?  I had hoped to embed the video of 3 year old Samuel Chelpka reciting it, but the embedding code has been disabled so you'll have to click here and open another tab and listen as you read along


You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.
But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine.
Did you like it?  It's accessible, written in plain, modern day English, and it's just hard enough to be worth your while without being so difficult that you turn away in disgust.  

But if that one is just too long for you, how about these 9 lines, taken right from the girls walking in front of you at the mall:
Oh, My God
Not only in church
and nightly by their bedsides
do young girls pray these days

Wherever they go,
prayer is woven into their talk
like a bright thread of awe

Even at the pedestrian mall
outbursts of praise
spring unbidden from their glossy lips.
If that doesn't make you smile next time you hear one of them cry out in praise of the lord while listening to a friend's recital of her date last night, well, I'm not sure that there's much hope for you at all.

Tomorrow's post will tell you why I am such a poetry fiend today.  I don't want to overwhelm you with too much to think about right now.

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