Buried In Poetry

In January, I began reading poetry incessantly.  Since I tend to write 8-12  poems per week, I figured I should start reviewing the greats, contemporaries of the greats, and contemporary (modern?) poets.

Now that it’s National Poetry Month, I have redoubled my efforts.  My twitter feed is chock-a-block with links to poetry I’ve never read before.  My office is piled with books, handy at a moments notice.  I’m reviewing T.S. Eliot, Benét, Don Marquis, and James Thurber (Thurber wasn’t a poet, but he always makes me laugh; my wife has a standing order that when I fall into my first coma, she is to read Thurber to me incessantly).

I found a fine hardbound book at the local used bookstore recently, The Bellman Book Of Verses, 1906-1919.  Many fine poems here amid the ones that simply don’t speak to me.  That is, not my cup of tea.

Well, isn’t that the way with poetry, art, music and literature?  When a bit of art is revered, it’s not a bad idea to observe it on your own and attempt to suss out why it is revered.  Of course, you can look at post analysis and comparative studies to find out what the fuss is all about.  As I have tromped about gracelessly on this planet, I have discovered a wonderful escape hatch which I use often.

I Immerse myself in a style or genre for a little while.  One that is just a bit outside of my own established interests.  There’s no real work involved.  Just read, or observe, or listen to that art, attempting to experience what others might.  My brain begins to make connections, revealing overlaps.  I’ll know when I think to myself, “Hey, that kinda reminds me of X”.

When I’m studying poetry, I know I already have an established feather bed to fall into if things get weird.  I can read 3 consecutive modern poems that do not rev me up.  No need to be disillusioned.  I can always rinse my brain’s mouth out with  Kipling.  Or Browning.  And in dire emergencies, break glass to access James Thurber.

Happy hunting fellow poets.  ~Tom~

There Are A Thousand Ways

There Are A Thousand Ways, by PHILIP ALPHONSE RIZZO, published in Spillway number 6, 1997

I long for the earth
Honor dirt in fingernails
soil that blows into corners

Thank the dust
clarioned from the stars
impacts the tundra
that feed caribou

Bless ancestral ashes
that make roses bloom
Praise Sahara dunes
the droppings of camels
and horses

Give reverence to
warm grays ochres siennas
the burnt umber
that roots the pine
in Sedona

I love the black humus
that sticks to Italian names
hugs celery
around Rome and Utica

Kneel and kiss bricks
fired to propagate courtyards
Massage glazing pots
hungering for marigolds

Prostrate myself before loam
holy blend that substrates
corn and wheat and soy beans
in Iowa and Nebraska
gives artichokes to salads
grapes to wind in California

Wash not my hands too well
after digging in the garden

Am not harsh with what we were
or shall become

 

AR – 1ip 5ervice

AR – 1ip 5ervice

my father called his wallet a billfold

simply put a portable engagement

for goods and services

our n.r.a. has a billfold too

simply put a stable lobby

for goods and services

guised as rights (by god no less)

you are folded under leather

with no haggling in the street

with no argument for debate

           you are wrong

           they are right

          — i never feared the paper tiger

                                           — until now

 

Autumn Valentine

I just received my 1936 copy of Dorothy Parker‘s “The Collected Poetry Of Dorothy Parker”.  Here I share the final poem in the book, a wry and timely piece, shining a succinct light on the ever changing attitudes of love and infatuation.  That gal cracks me up.  ~TH~

dp_poetry

AUTUMN VALENTINE

In May my heart was breaking-

Oh wide the wound, and deep!

And bitter it beat at waking,

And sore it split in sleep.

And when it came November,

I sought my heart, and sighed,

“Poor thing, do you remember?”

“What heart was that?” it cried.

Improvised Reeds

Improvised Reeds

It was my mother who taught me to cradle a

Blade of grass between my thumbs

Cuticles aligned and haunches pressed together

Creating the reed chamber

 

The first time she fashioned this magic

We sat by our hickory tree

The rock-hard nuts would sound off on any car

Parked too close to the cinderblock wall

 

My mother and I shared a penchant for silence

When we were among the fall leaves and branches

She plucked a broad grass from between us, blowing

Setting it loudly aquiver, shrill as a clarinet

 

Startling miraculous sound!

Please, yes! Show me how it’s done

It was then my mother taught me

The pleasant nature of patient curiosity.

 

Last Day Of Summer, 2016

cutleaf-maple_for_poem

slowing maples

Last Day Of Summer, 2016

So now I write of the end of a season

Orchids, finches, late morning dew

Seated outside in the shade I watch

My tabby lolling in a dirt patch near

The grasses, rolling and pawing at

Insects; then suddenly preening –

Then suddenly; napping

 

The goldy feline queen has decided today

That the screen porch is close enough

To the real outdoors –

She languishes on the padded wicker while

I entertain my morning guest –

The southern breeze

 

She is seated next to me, wearing light blue

Facing the direction from which she came

In a chair soon destined for the storage barn

We discuss any subject that suits the day –

Ferns in the garden, slowing maples

Gray silver dollar packets of seeds

 

Empty feeders hang nearby

The birds are all quiet just now

Babies have fledged and now they nest

Exhausted, just as the sun is flagging

 

Soon the earth will pitch that sun

Across the horizon each day

A lazy bright stone skipped across a graying pond

Frow where my companion once came

finch-and-orchid

 

My wife will fill the feeders soon enough

Marching through a knee deep snow –

I will watch her fulfill this labor of love

From the finch and orchid bay window

Facing the shadowy southland

Contemplating a new winter poem

~TH~