Wednesday, October 20, 2010
A Diane Wakoski Poem (a refuge from the submorons)
Posting a poem here in times of dangerous stupidity is neither effete nor is it a sign of hiding in denial. I am not going to make an argument for the efficacy of art in bettering the citizenry or at least not right now. Let's agree poetry is a a temporary refuge, a rose to smell before returning to battle. And so:
I'm always amazed to remember I read poetry long before I wrote it. What a good citizen of the literate world I was! I've managed to hold onto about (guess) half my poetry books, despite nomadic tendencies, and so can track at least some early interests, one of which was Diane Wakoski.
She wrote one poem in which nuns' mouths form o's, like notes. If anyone knows the title, please tell me. In the meantime, here's a poem dipping and streaming back into itself with sonic repetition (blue, dew, demure).
To The Young Man Who Left The Flowers
On My Desk One April Afternoon
I accepted them.
It was the graceful
thing to do, even though I knew
they weren't meant for me:
Far, far too lovely they were—
half blue, wild tolling blue
as lucent and yielding as new
melon flesh and dew, dew on their lips
half demure, demure and elegant
white rose, sleeping beauties quiet
and masked against any beast.
I cannot say what they meant
to us all, coming at the time
when they did. It was love,
and we opened our hearts,
so much evil having recently skulked about.
Diane Wakowski, from Virtuoso Literature for Two and Four Hands (Doubleday)