Monday, December 31, 2012

The Poet's Stone

"Do not disturb me now. I have to extract
A creature with its eggs between the words."
- WS Graham

Late afternoons, late in the calendar, early
In the icy winter, I want more than ever
To write something stupid and call it poetry,

To write something foolish that transforms poetry
By being the first such foolish thing to be called
A poem, redeeming another generation

From learned belatedness and popular verse.
How's that for nonsense? Every day we wear our clothes,
Changing them unless too poor, too sick, or too dead,

And the fact of being ornamented beings
Impresses us with ourselves, aesthetic species,
But it's only the habit of changing our clothes

That matters, that has anything to do with life.
Houses are clothes, paintings are clothes, temples are clothes,
The supernatural beings there worshipped are clothes,

And poems, too, are clothes, ornaments at least, tattoos.
It's not that we make them, it's that we make new ones
That tells us we have our way of being alive.

The horses painted in the caves were important,
The horned figures pecked out of the cliffs were as well,
The gothic cathedrals, the renaissance frescoes,

The zen haiku composed at the moment of death,
All also, but not so much because they were done,
But because one day we forgot them and moved on.

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