Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Tip of the Iceberg : Poem In Your Post

The Tip of the Iceberg

Say language really does what it says it does:

That the bird in your hand
is really a bird, that it takes two
to tango, that whoever digs
his own grave will have to sleep in it.
Say you have a fool for a friend,
feckless and dissipated and greedy
beneath the stars, and that it takes one
to know one.  Say that might
makes right, that the best offense
is a good defense, that fools rush in
where trepid angels stammer
in front of the doormats.  Say
that life's unfair, that that's
the way it is, that someone tells you
"Have a nice day" and really means it.
What would it be like: the word,
reticent and calm, urged out
once more toward its true meaning?
What would it mean if "till death
do us part" really meant till all breath
leaves me, love; if "forever" meant
until the tides cease?  What would it signify
if "love" could only mean love once more,
not just the tip of the iceberg, sinking,
and in all sincerity.

                     - Michael Blumenthal

A darkly funny poem for a drizzly melancholy day.  Michael Blumenthal's one of my favorite poets for his clear relish of a jauntily turned phrase and for his almost-always accessibility and for the stark truths - some heartening, others sobering - around which he builds all his poems.

You can enjoy twenty of his poems on his Poetry Foundation page


p.s.  Not every choice is autobiographically motivated, so don't read too much into mine today; I'm just feeling a tad anxious, a tad world-weary on a weekend when I'd much rather wax airy or rapt or even smugly content.  This poem suits my mood, but not my circumstances.


Dana - Let's Book It said...

LOVE this poem!! Thanks for posting it.

Parrish Lantern said...

Horse, Skywards,/ Leaps Out Of Itself Like a Worldless/ Fact -Inger Elisabeth Hansen

The horses must stand whole
The horses must stand whole in the forest
The horses must stand whole over there in the forest and wait
With brimful lips lowered the horses must wait over there
The horses must wait where the trees may stand
Where the fount renews itself the horses must stand whole
The horses have had the sense to make their way here
For horses who are whole there is a forest over there
for horses who are whole there are large trees
There is cover for horses who have brought everything along
Horses who have brought along brimful lips to lower
Horses who have brought along their eyes to where there’s a fount
There is cover for horses who have saved their hide
For horses who have a hide filled with horse
Over there the horses can wait brimful of horse
Earthfacing, with hooves down, with their head fully lowered
With their head rendered towards the earth they can eat, they can drink
They can fill themselves with exact delimited horse
In their hide, whole, the horses must stand whole

Not leap out of themselves like a worldless fact.

Laurie said...

PL, as ever, you offer beauty. I suspect this poet's read and offered an homage to Joy Harjo's "She Had Some Horses", no? Yet this one's quite distinct and lovely in its own right.
Thank you! (Off to return the visit...)

Laurie said...

Or perhaps not an homage but a critique?

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