We’re heading to Russia and Eastern Europe in a few days, so I’ve been rereading the wonderful Polish poet, Wisława Szymborska. Here’s a poem of hers that expresses an idea I’ve had about political poetry perfectly. I believe the conference table she’s referring to is the one from the Paris Peace Talks, which were designed to end the Vietnam War in 1968.
Children of Our Age
We are children of our age,
it’s a political age.
All day long, all through the night,
all affairs—yours, ours theirs—
are political affairs.
Whether you like it or not,
your genes have a political past,
your skin, a political cast,
your eyes, a political slant. Continue reading “Why I don’t write political poems”
If you live in Santa Monica, the city cares whether you are thriving. So they formed the Wellbeing project, and sent out surveys to see how you’re doing. They are compiling a Wellbeing index. Their website can explain it to you: www.smgov.net/Wellbeing. Is it charming or scary?
Here’s a lovely little Billy Collins poem–no smart-ass irony, not much self in it at all, just a lovely image, well rendered:
Elk River Falls
is where the Elk River falls
from a rocky and considerable height,
turning pale with trepidation at the lip
(it seemed from where I stood below)
before it is unbuckled from itself
and plummets, shredded, through the air
into the shadows of a frigid pool,
so calm around the edges, a place
for water to recover from the shock
of falling apart and coming back together
before it picks up its song again,
goes sliding around the massive rocks
and past some islands overgrown with weeds
then flattens out and slips around a bend
and continues on its winding course,
according to this camper’s guide,
then joins the Clearwater at its northern fork,
which must in time find the sea
where this and every other stream
mistakes the monster for itself,
sings its name one final time
then feels the sudden sting of salt.
I was feeling pretty ecologically minded the other day–big garden, compost, chickens, solar panels on the house, and a new-to-me pre-owned (there’s an adjective for you!) electric Nissan Leaf, just purchased. You plug it in. No gas. Zero emissions–a new way to think about driving. I had to get educated.
But then I went to an event and a woman there told me she had decided to have no plastic in her house. Continue reading “Degrees of green”
Louise Glück is a poet whose works seems to evolve with each new book. This poem is one of my favorites:
Fish bones walked the waves off Hatteras.
And there were other signs
That Death wooed us, by water, wooed us
By land: among the pines
An uncurled cottonmouth that rolled on moss
Reared in the polluted air.
Birth, not death, is the hard loss.
I know. I also left a skin there.