Posts

Wendell Berry

At his recent Seattle reading, poet Ted Kooser suggested that we read about 100 poems for every one we write. I decided I would try to take that seriously. Well, somewhat seriously, and I have been reading poems every morning, even while working on the novel.

Here’s one of the poems I read today — “The Peace of Wild Things,” by Wendell Berry. To hear it, go to this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cqb3rVWxNY

Day 30: The Last Day

“Considering the ways in which so many of us waste our time, what would be wrong with a world in which everybody were writing poems? After all, there’s a significant service to humanity in spending time doing no harm. While you’re writing your poem, there’s one less scoundrel in the world. And I’d like a world, wouldn’t you, in which people actually took time to think about what they were saying? It would be, I’m certain, a more peaceful, more reasonable place. I don’t think there could ever be too many poets. By writing poetry, even those poems that fail and fail miserably, we honor and affirm life. We say ‘We loved the earth but could not stay.’” 
― Ted KooserThe Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets

*
from POETRYisEVERYTHING (abbreviated):

THE PROMPT for Wednesday April 30th, 2014

Prompt 30 – Something old, something borrowed, something blue — Our poem will be 8 to 12 lines. Every other line (lines 2, 4, 6 and 8 and possibly 10 and 12) will be brand new lines that you write. One or more of these lines will include something blue.

For lines 1, 3, 5, 7, and possibly, 9 and 11 use lines from two to three of the poems you have written in the last 30 days.

This is what I came up with (tinkered with it a little, losing the 2, 4, etc. organization):

*

Emma, Playing the Guitar

As a child I fell in love with words, pleats
and plaits, with words like implicate

which means braided into. Words
unfurling, an ocean that my streams ran to,

or out of, like my parents’ shelves of books,
my logger father reading aloud Emily Dickinson and Rudyard Kipling.

Tonight my youngest daughter practices her guitar,

in love with music, making me listen to a blue e-minor chord,
trellises of music like trellises of wisteria,

a wicker chair under a skylight, a scent
of gardenias and lilacs, the heavy bees thrumming.

Bout, fret, strings, saddle and bridge, soundhole, neck.

And her name, a word I’ve counted on
to make the world make sense.