Monday, May 4, 2009

Eating Poetry - Mark Strand

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.

The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.

The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.

Their eyeballs roll,
their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.

She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
she screams.

I am a new man.
I snarl at her and bark.
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.

1 comment:

  1. In Defense of Poets

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    Niels Hav:
    In Defense of Poets

    What are we to do about the poets?
    Life's rough on them
    they look so pitiful dressed in black
    their skin blue from internal blizzards

    Poetry is a horrible disease,
    the infected walk about complaining
    their screams pollute the atmosphere like leaks
    from atomic power stations of the mind. It's so psychotic
    Poetry is a tyrant
    it keeps people awake at night and destroys marriages
    it draws people out to desolate cottages in mid-winter
    where they sit in pain wearing earmuffs and thick scarves.
    Imagine the torture.

    Poetry is a pest
    worse than gonorrhea, a terrible abomination.
    But consider poets it's hard for them
    bear with them!
    They are hysterical as if they are expecting twins
    they gnash their teeth while sleeping, they eat dirt
    and grass. They stay out in the howling wind for hours
    tormented by astounding metaphors.
    Every day is a holy day for them.

    Oh please, take pity on the poets
    they are deaf and blind
    help them through traffic where they stagger about
    with their invisible handicap
    remembering all sorts of stuff. Now and then one of them stops
    to listen for a distant siren.
    Show consideration for them.

    Poets are like insane children
    who've been chased from their homes by the entire family.
    Pray for them
    they are born unhappy
    their mothers have cried for them
    sought the assistance of doctors and lawyers, until they had to give up
    for fear of loosing their own minds.
    Oh, cry for the poets!

    Nothing can save them.
    Infested with poetry like secret lepers
    they are incarcerated in their own fantasy world
    a gruesome ghetto filled with demons
    and vindictive ghosts.

    When on a clear summer's day the sun shining brightly
    you see a poor poet
    come wobbling out of the apartment block, looking pale
    like a cadaver and disfigured by speculations
    then walk up and help him.
    Tie his shoelaces, lead him to the park
    and help him sit down on the bench
    in the sun. Sing to him a little
    buy him an ice cream and tell him a story
    because he's so sad.
    He's completely ruined by poetry.

    Translated by P.K. Brask & Patrick Friesen
    Niels Hav