A poet I thought I didn’t much care for

A couple of years ago, I heard Anne Carson read at Stanford. I didn’t enjoy the reading or Autobiography of Red, and then never read anything else. But I came across this poem, which I like very much. I guess I’ll have to dig more deeply.

God’s Justice

In the beginning there were days set aside for various tasks.
On the day He was to create justice
God got involved in making a dragonfly

and lost track of time.
It was about two inches long
with turquoise dots all down its back like Lauren Bacall.

God watched it bend its tiny wire elbows
as it set about cleaning the transparent case of its head.
The eye globes mounted on the case

rotated this way and that
as it polished every angle.
Inside the case

which was glassy black like the windows of a downtown bank
God could see the machinery humming
and He watched the hum

travel all the way down turquoise dots
to the end of the tail and breathe off as light.
Its black wings vibrated in and out.

Anne Carson
from Glass, Irony and God (New Directions, 1995)


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