Catching Witches

18 07 2012

I don’t write poems anymore.

I don’t know why I stopped, don’t consider this a writer’s block, don’t know if I’ll ever write poems again.

The words always come, if not always right away, but how they come? That’s beyond me. I try to be good and pay attention when they do come, not to let them tumble out and away, but I can be careless, so careless with the words.

You can’t be careless in poetry; poetry is care for words, care in words, care for the quick-step and sidle, the long breathless pause and the swoon and swoop out over the water.

I would like that back, but here is one I wrote before the poetry went away. I may have posted it before, but if so, well, I like it enough to post it again.

Catching Witches

Washed down
the river
you will be
born
again into
the hands
of God.
But
if your lungs are
stronger
than your faith,
you will be
grounded
on this earth,
still alive,
but dead
forever.

There was no agenda when I wrote this, just the sound, and the impossibility.





Friday poem: in Just-

11 12 2009

e.e. cummings is a great poet for kids.

Not because he’s simple—he’s not—but because he’s gleeful and serious in a way that kids understand is not a contradiction. He breaks rules not for the sake of the rules, but for the sake of the poem. He liberates the words, not into chaos, but that they may be formed into something which makes its own, perfect, sense.

And he sounds wonderful. You want to sing his poems, or laugh, or cry, or whisper, in the telling. I’m not a fan of most spoken-poems: the speakers too often sound like Speakers, intoning and pausing meaningfully and making sure that all who hear are in the presence of Art, or they err too far in the other direction, as so many spoken-word poets do, jamming and hamming and, again, drawing all too much attention to the spoker.

No, read a poem for the poem. Read the poem to hear the poem, not yourself reading the poem. Yes, pay attention to the line and stanza breaks, but, remember, this is its own language: This is poetry.

So, one of my first, and still favorite, cummings poems (w/a tip o’ the lid to Poets’ Corner)

in Just-

in Just-
spring       when the world is mud-
luscious the little lame baloonman

whistles       far       and wee

and eddyandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
spring

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old baloonman whistles
far       and       wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and

it’s
spring
and
the
goat-footed

baloonMan       whistles
far
and
wee