Morning Poem, April 17, 2015



WHAT POETRY SHOULD DO

 

Real poetry gives true names to things.

It’s an act creation and an act of order,

Like man giving names to the animals on the first day.

 

There are a million things to be named

Things we only half know, until we hear their names.

When the poet finds the true name for something

That name distinguishes that something from everything else

And makes it identifiable forevermore.

 

Things like this:

The expression on the face of the store clerk,

How he smiled like the grill of a Chrysler

And yet looked afraid.

The feel of the knife handle or guitar neck in the hand

How it felt when she said “No”

How it felt when she said “Yes.”

.

Poetry gives names to things even

that we have not yet known

And may only have glimpsed in one bright moment

On the farthest edge of conciousness

So we don’t understand the poem on first reading

But the structure still enchants us

We know there is something there

Then in three or four days

We awaken at night and know what the poet meant

And we are satisfied.

Or seven years later, driving home from work

We remember a line or thought

And some sliver of reality, of experience, of life

Is now ours to be sure of

To grasp and to keep.

 

Copyright 2015

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