World War II and Poland seemed to create a unique environment for poetry. That unfortunate Catholic country, smack between Russia and Germany, produced dozens of wise, chastened, articulate writers, many of whose poems I’ve posted in the past. One I hadn’t read before is Ryszard Krynicki. He mostly writes short, bitter, ironic poems, like salt on the rim of the glass:
do you mean?
The right to life?
You can’t extend it even by an instant,
though you’re dying of curiosity:
who won, who killed.
–The right to fight?
The right of the fittest comes first…
So you’re speaking not of human
rights, Continue reading “Those Polish Poets” →
I’ve been thinking a lot about rhyme lately, how it’s almost impossible to write a contemporary poem with conventional rhyme, but songs and nursery rhymes still rely on rhyme. Children especially love rhyme, and some of my favorite children’s poetry is by A.A. Milne, who in addition to Winnie the Pooh, has two books of children’s verse, Now We Are Six and When We Were Very Young.
I was reciting these to my grandson the other day, to both of our delight:
Weatherby George Dupree
Care of his Mother
Though he was only three.
Said to his Mother,
"Mother," he said, said he;
"You must never go down to the end of the town, if
you don't go down with me."
Put on a golden gown,
Drove to the end of the town.
Said to herself, said she:
"I can get right down to the end of the town and be
back in time for tea."
Put up a notice,
"LOST or STOLEN or STRAYED!
SEEMS TO HABE BEEN MISLAID.
QUITE OF HER OWN ACCORD,
SHE TRIED TO GET DOWN TO THE END OF
THE TOWN - FORTY SHILLINGS REWARD!
(Commonly known as Jim)
Not to go blaming him.
Said to his Mother,
"Mother," he said, said he,
"You must never go down to the end of the town with-
out consulting me."
Hasn't been heard of since.
Said he was sorry,
So did the Queen and Prince.
(Somebody told me)
Said to a man he knew:
"If people go down to the end of the town, well, what
can anyone do?"
(Now then, very softly)
W. G. du P.
C/o his M*****
Though he was only 3.
Said to his M*****
"M*****," he said, said he:
This was one of the poetry selections by the American Academy of Poets for Mother’s Day–it seems to me a sort of love poem from a mother to a teenage child. I like its strange title.
Hours Days Years Unmoor Their Orbits
tonight I’m cleaning baby portobellos
for you, my young activist
wiping the dirty tops with a damp cloth
as carefully as I used to rinse raspberries
for you to adorn your fingertips
before eating each blood-red prize
these days you rarely look me in the eye
& your long shagged hair hides your smile Continue reading “Monday poem” →
The last group of baby chicks is now starting to lay the lovely pullet eggs, small and beautiful. We cracked one yesterday, and the small egg had two small yolks. I’ve had big eggs with two yolks before, but never a small one.
And the garden!
3Poetry month just ended, and the Berkeley Library printed some wonderful poems by local poets. When soliciting work, they sent out a sample of last year’s choices and I liked this one by Ed Hirsch:
We walked on the bridge over the Chicago River
for what turned out to be the last time,
and I ate cotton candy, that sugary air,
that sweet blue light sun out of nothingness. Continue reading “Poem in your pocket” →