The Tip of the Iceberg
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.