Monday, November 4, 2013

So You Think You Don't Like Poetry

First, a confession: I haven't been writing poetry lately. I haven't been in the right head space. Which is an excuse, I know, and not a very good one. I actually just felt ready to reread some of my thesis (a collection of 40 poems) and I'm surprised that I don't hate it all. There are poems in there I feel ready to revisit, perhaps revise. (Yeah, I know, they are supposedly "done" because they were part of my thesis, but a lot them aren't really done. And when is a poem done, anyway?)

So I read this poem today and I loved its negativity, its concession of futility. It's a downer of a poem, for sure...and yet, because it's good, it made me feel good. Counter to the message of the poem, the poem's very existence made me happy. I love reading good poems! I love that people are still writing good poems! Whenever I find a new poem I admire, I feel hopeful even if the poem's message is darkly Hobbesian, a.k.a. life is brutal and short and the world we live in is terrible. Natalie Shapero, the world is a little less terrible with this poem in it.

Not Horses

What I adore is not horses, with their modern
domestic life span of 25 years. What I adore
is a bug that lives only one day, especially if
it’s a terrible day, a day of train derailment or
chemical lake or cop admits to cover-up, a day
when no one thinks of anything else, least of all
that bug. I know how it feels, born as I’ve been
into these rotting times, as into sin. Everybody’s
busy, so distraught they forget to kill me,
and even that won’t keep me alive. I share
my home not with horses, but with a little dog
who sees poorly at dusk and menaces stumps,
makes her muscle known to every statue.
I wish she could have a single day of   language,
so that I might reassure her don’t be afraid —
our whole world is dead and so can do you no harm.