Monday, July 19, 2010

So You Think You Don't Like Poetry

My friend and fellow writer Akshay Ahuja (read one of his stories here) lent me a copy of The Collected Poems of Weldon Kees last semester and I have just now gotten around to reading it. Kees is not as well known as perhaps he should be -- in the introduction to his Collected Poems, Donald Justice says that although some may consider him a "minor" poet, he is still a significant one. And hey, if Donald Justice is writing the introduction to your Collected Poems, you must have done something right.

Kees's poetry is pretty bleak -- his most anthologized sonnet, "For My Daughter," puts forth a pretty solid don't-have-kids argument. I thought since we're in the throes of hot, humid summer in Boston, I'd post this one instead; it's also depressing, but I really like the hybrid form (it's close to a villanelle, but decidedly not one). Enjoy and please don't slit your wrists (at least not on my watch).

The Beach in August

The day the fat woman
In the bright blue bathing suit
Walked into the water and died,
I thought about the human
Condition. Pieces of old fruit
Came in and were left by the tide.

What I thought about the human
Condition was this: old fruit
Comes in and is left, and dries
In the sun. Another fat woman
In a dull green bathing suit
Dives into the water and dies.
The pulmotors glisten. It is noon.

We dry and die in the sun
While the seascape arranges old fruit,
Coming in and the tide, glistening
At noon. A woman, moderately stout,
In a nondescript bathing suit,
Swims to a pier. A tall woman
Steps toward the sea. One thinks about the human
Condition. The tide goes in and goes out.

No comments: