This is just to say…

No, I haven’t eaten the sweet cold plums that were in the icebox…That was another poet. But I would like to share two of my own with readers, first of all with new readers, and also with any readers returning from schizophrenia.com who happened to be searching for WAGblog and found me here. These poems will be in my upcoming book, We Mad Climb Shaky Ladders: Poems (CavanKerry Pres, Fort Lee, NJ) to be published in February 2009. Short, but I hope effective and not too familiar to people (I don’t recall if I posted both at my old website or not…), the first one is called simply

Poem

You ask me in anger
to write about anger,
the hot flare of it, the cold steel
as we almost come to blows
and each word blisters my fingers
as I take out my wrath
at the typewriter.

Later you are calmer
and in silence do not so much
ask for forgiveness — we both were wrong —
as ask for a poem.

Here it is, love.
Here it is.

The second poem is the one I will open with at any reading, just as it opens my book. I think it is obvious why…

HOW TO READ A POEM: BEGINNER’S MANUAL

First, forget everything you have learned,
that poetry is difficult,
that it cannot be appreciated by the likes of you,
with your high school equivalency diploma,
your steel-tipped boots,
or your white-collar misunderstandings.

Do not assume meanings hidden from you:
the best poems mean what they say and say it.

To read poetry requires only courage
enough to leap from the edge
and trust.

Treat a poem like dirt,
humus rich and heavy from the garden.
Later it will become the fat tomatoes
and golden squash piled high upon your kitchen table.

Poetry demands surrender,
language saying what is true,
doing holy things to the ordinary.

Read just one poem a day.
Someday a book of poems may open in your hands
like a daffodil offering its cup
to the sun.

When you can name five poets
without including Bob Dylan,
when you exceed your quota
and don’t even notice,
close this manual.

Congratulations.
You can now read poetry.

Now, I wrote this blog entry late at night in order to get WAGblog started, but I haven’t done any real designing for it, or even chosen the theme I want. So this will have to do for now. I hope if you are reading this, you have enjoyed my poetry and will want to return. Or that if you are a friend from the old schizophrenia.com Wagblog that you will find the new and to-be-improved Wagblog just as interesting to you and will visit often.

Take care and come back in a few days or maybe a week or so, after I’ve gotten more work done. TTFN BD

6 thoughts on “This is just to say…”

  1. HOW TO READ A POEM: BEGINNER’S MANUAL ~ how wonderful!

    Have you written “How to Write a Poem?” That’s what I need, a manual for poem writing.

    XOXO
    Rachel

  2. I just stumbled on “How to read a poem: a beginner’s manual” at poets.org. I’m teaching a literature class this fall, and I liked it so much that I want my students to read as well.

  3. Pam:-

    I’m out in the far west Texas boonies (“…land lotsa land under starry skies above…”), and have only occasional internet access; on those occasions that we come into town, Fort Davis, a 20 minute drive.
    So today is the first time since its launch that I’ve visited your blog.
    I marvel … you can write and you do write. That’s not news, but I marvel nonetheless.
    When errands are over I’ll return to the library and read at leisure.
    Leila

  4. Hi Leora, Hi Leila,

    Now I have two great editors. I hope both of you will return and keep me on my toes.

    This typo will likely make it into the book, alas, as I fear NO one picked it up…Fortunately, it seems to be obvious what was intended, though I wish some editor had noticed it. I fixed it here, so now it reads: …”not so much ask for forgiveness as ask for a poem”

    Thanks so much, both of you!

  5. Congratulations on getting back up and thanks for letting me know.

    As your unofficial editor, I found a typo in “Poem”. The word “as” should probably be “ask”. Otherwise, I’ve enjoyed everything.

    Leora

  6. Welcome to WordPress, Pam, glad you’re back online.
    Now I guess it’s my turn to release my words…!

    So there it is, at least for your readers..

    Leila

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