Saturday, October 25, 2014

"Every morning
the world
is created. 
Under the orange

sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches ---"

from Morning Poem
Mary Oliver

"Near me, I saw
a single cricket;
it was moving the grains of the hillside

this way and that way.
How great was its energy,
how humble its effort.
Let us hope

it will always be like this,
each of us going on
in our inexplicable ways
building the universe."
from Song of the Builders
by Mary Oliver

Sunday, October 19, 2014

William Stafford
from Youth

“Remember when shadows played
because there were leaves in the wind?
And people came to our door from a land
where stories were real?
Barefood we traveled the roads
all summer. At night we drew pictures
of home with smoke from the chimney.
And we frowned when we read,
so we could understand.”

A few nights ago paging between the Poems of William Stafford’s 
 the Way It Is;  Graywolf Press ( Stories That Could be True
Harpercollins is also excellent, there is some overlap of poems) 
and John Koethe’s North Point North; Harpercollins, some poems 
I love. some not so much, I found two the two accounts of childhood 
I have used in this post. I have been asked why I like poetry so much 
and while reflecting on these choices I came up with the following.

I enjoy the brevity of poems. the beautiful language and imagery, 
their ability to change direction, the freedom from the restrictions 
of (good) fiction like plot, continuity, characterization, point of view. 
Poetry on the other hand easily weaves together memory, sensory 
experience, moods, descriptions, sounds, disparate phrases, points 
of view, changes in tone, dialogue into an instrument that closely 
mimics the way our mind interacts with the world around it, with 
all our changing moods, flashes of memory or nostalgia, moments 
of despair or of epiphany. I see the best poems not as fictional 
narratives but as vessels in which the feelings, the memories, 
the observations and experiences of both the poet and the reader 
combine to allow the reader to examine the world and their
 experiences  within it with fresh insights and understanding.

from From the Porch
by John Koethe

“As though one’s childhood were a small midwestern town

Some forty years ago, before the elm trees died.
September was a modern classroom and the latest cars,
That made a sort of futuristic dream, circa 1955.
The earth was still uncircled. You could set your course
On the day after tomorrow. And children fell asleep
To the lullaby of people murmuring softly in the kitchen,
While a breeze rustled the pages of Life magazine,
And the wicker chairs stood empty on the screened-in porch.”