Poetry

February 23, 2015

I too dislike it
the mystified truisms
the dusty puzzle-prunes
the theatrical exaggerations:
"the brutal crescendo of woodworms"—

yet I think of O'Hara's delight
in the endless pleasures
of quotidian life and Duhamel
throwing a dozen balls in the air
and juggling them all
Frank said only a few poems
are as good as the movies
but that was a long time ago
before a lot of bad movies
before background music before
there was almost no silence and
"the private life" is an insult to others.

Poetry is the most private art:
Li-Young remembering his father
combing his mother's hair,
Stern and GIlbert with their mouths open
walking down a street in Paris, Judith
writing the mysteries of Level Green
and her father's radioactive chambers.

Catullus registering his private ecstasies
and fears while the machine of the state
ground on. Kinnell saying "go so deep
into yourself you speak for everyone."