Sunday, May 3, 2009

AT THE TEMPLE OF POETRY

Hi all!

Kitty Jospe and I had a good conversation the other day, chatting about our (sometimes forgotten) humble origins as poets. We bring our teensy nothings to poetry's altar and hope for some sort of success...praise, maybe? Truth? (Or is it beauty?) I wonder how strong a role pride plays in all this, in living as a writer. (As I write this, Garrison Keillor is quoting May Sarton: "One must think like a hero in order to behave like a merely decent human being." How fitting.)

I wrote this poem shortly after hanging up the phone. Truth be told, it doesn't read as philosophically as one might think. (read: you can enjoy it even if you're exhausted.)

AT THE TEMPLE OF POETRY


something in my pocket feels round
maybe a pearl or a silver bullet either way
I’m pretty sure it’s valuable and I’m taking it
to the temple of poetry where I can sacrifice freely
I expect a long queue but the place seems deserted
it’s a clay house it’s a marble slab it’s tucked away
in a snowy wood someone’s playing the piano
someone’s slapping horsehair on the snare drum’s face
someone’s hiding in the curtains someone’s running water
across the fat backs of fish something catches my eye
it’s a dodo toddering round the altar he’s got a piece
of paper pinned to his tail it says Hello My Name Is Normal
he starts lighting a flock of white candles he beckons
me forward I’ve got something in my pocket
he says so do all my brothers but bring it forward if you must
it’s round think it might be a pearl he says an Italian was here
just the other day and he brought a globe
the Frenchwoman brought a little orange pumpkin
they’re always perfect spheres he said
I reach in my pocket and pull out a pebble grayish and smooth
I’m frowning but Normal the dodo just turns back
to his candles says leave it in that stream over there
and yes there is a little creek running around the temple
it’s full and squibbling with other poets’ pebbles
there’s barnacles latched onto Normal’s knobby legs
he says I better stop gawking before there’s boom boom thunder
says I better get back to work if I ever want to return


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3 comments:

Tara said...

Cool! This is a really neat little poem with lots of good imagery in it. I love the idea of an alter to poetry!

Mike K said...

This is a great site - I heard that quote from Garrison Keillor yesterday too, and it's too true. Reading more poetry is always on my "things I should do list"...a very long list, by the way. You have some wonderful work here, and I look forward to reading more!

karenh said...

Hi Abby! Interesting poem. I like it. I don't get the Dodo part. Maybe there's nothing to get.

Haven't heard from you in a while. Looking for dates in May that the group can meet. Any ideas? We have at least three new poets interested in coming.