20 January 2009

As Long As I'm Being Crabby

1. Whose bright idea was it to perform an overly ornate version of a song praising simplicity?

2. In what sense is the following a poem?
Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others' eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.

A farmer considers the changing sky; A teacher says, "Take out your pencils. Begin."

We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed; words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, "I need to see what's on the other side; I know there's something better down the road."

We need to find a place where we are safe; We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle; praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign; The figuring it out at kitchen tables.

Some live by "Love thy neighbor as thy self."

Others by first do no harm, or take no more than you need.

What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance.

In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.

On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp -- praise song for walking forward in that light.


Susan's Husband said...

Thank you for making my day a little bit brighter.

Bret said...

You ARE being crabby!

Did you forget to take your happy pills today?

joe shropshire said...

Since you're crabby anyway, it's "Whose", not "who's". And it's poetry about as much as Seamus Heaney reading Walt Whitman's grocery list would be.

David said...

Thanks, Joe. I fixed it.

Bret: Both the arrangement and the, for want of a better word, poem took me right out of my American exceptionalism/rites of democracy revery.

Susan's Husband said...

Now, see, here's a situation where the post-modern jargon "text" is perfect. "Both the arrangement and the text ..."

Harry Eagar said...

Heck, it's not even prose.

Brit said...

Oh dear, it's a shocker, isn't it?

One of those things that's meant to be read aloud in a cafe-bar in a sort of stop-starty rhythm with a word stressed every now and then to make it sound a bit deep and other-worldly and then the last line kind of just....trails.... o.....

If this sort of thing makes you want to reach for your handgun, never go to a Poetry 'Slam'. Especially with a handgun, you could get yourself into trouble with the law.

Hey Skipper said...

The nation would have been far better served if Brit had written the poem.

joe shropshire said...

Never fear, Brit. Around these parts we save our ammunition for more important things.