friday feast: poetry on the run

via Gerag

Might this be you? ☺

Poem for People That Are Understandably Too Busy to Read Poetry

by Stephen Dunn

Relax. This won’t last long.
Or if it does, or if the lines
make you sleepy or bored,
give in to sleep, turn on
the T.V., deal the cards.
This poem is built to withstand
such things. Its feelings
cannot be hurt. They exist
somewhere in the poet,
and I am far away.
Pick it up anytime. Start it
in the middle if you wish.
It is as approachable as melodrama,
and can offer you violence
if it is violence you like. Look,
there’s a man on a sidewalk;
the way his leg is quivering
he’ll never be the same again.
This is your poem
and I know you’re busy at the office
or the kids are into your last nerve.
Maybe it’s sex you’ve always wanted.
Well, they lie together
like the party’s unbuttoned coats,
slumped on the bed
waiting for drunken arms to move them.
I don’t think you want me to go on;
everyone has his expectations, but this
is a poem for the entire family.
Right now, Budweiser
is dripping from a waterfall,
deodorants are hissing into armpits
of people you resemble,
and the two lovers are dressing now,
saying farewell.
I don’t know what music this poem
can come up with, but clearly
it’s needed. For it’s apparent
they will never see each other again
and we need music for this
because there was never music when he or she
left you standing on the corner.
You see, I want this poem to be nicer
than life. I want you to look at it
when anxiety zigzags your stomach
and the last tranquilizer is gone
and you need someone to tell you
I’ll be here when you want me
like the sound inside a shell.
The poem is saying that to you now.
But don’t give anything for this poem.
It doesn’t expect much. It will never say more
than listening can explain.
Just keep it in your attache case
or in your house. And if you’re not asleep
by now, or bored beyond sense,
the poem wants you to laugh. Laugh at
yourself, laugh at this poem, at all poetry.
Come on:

Good. Now here’s what poetry can do.

Imagine yourself a caterpillar.
There’s an awful shrug and, suddenly,
you’re beautiful for as long as you live.

(1966)

via jill ee

This one speaks for itself. Besides, I wouldn’t want anyone to think I actually had time to read poetry ☺.

What’s buzzin’ in your hive?

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Here in the Alphabet Soup kitchen we’re revving up for the 3rd Annual Poetry Potluck! Here’s my announcement from earlier this week. Full Menu and Giveaway details next Friday, March 30th.

Doing something special for Poetry Month? Please let me know in the comments so I can include the info in my roundup post next week! Thanks.

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Beautiful-as-a-butterfly Mary Lee is hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup today at A Year of Reading. If you’re not too busy, flitter over there to enjoy all the delicious poems being served up in the blogosphere this week. But only if you’re not too busy, mind you. Only if you’re not too busy.

Pay no attention at all to this strawberry shortcake. Its feelings won’t be hurt if you don’t eat any.

via princedd

Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

27 thoughts on “friday feast: poetry on the run

    1. You’re right, Linda. And it might convince those who don’t usually read poetry because they’ve assumed all along that there’s nothing there for them, that poetry can take all forms, can address all manner of topics and be highly accessible. Dunn’s direct address pulls you in right away.

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  1. As I recently told you, I’m a “new convert” to poetry and am so enjoying it. My Billy Collins book of poetry is dog-earred (!!) so that I may return to the poems that speak to me over and over again. I have a few printed up (including Rudyard Kipling’s IF) by my nightstand to read before bedtime, too.🙂 Thanks for sharing this one!

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    1. If anyone can win over new poetry converts, it’s Billy Collins. Haven’t met anyone yet who could resist his highly accessible poems.🙂

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      1. Oh, Mary Oliver! Yes! I’m dedicating the Potluck to her this year. She’s America’s bestselling poet — she’s been ill recently and has had to cancel all her public appearances.

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  2. This poem is new to me, so I’m really glad you shared it. And, yes, it does have something for just about everyone! Oh, and I’ll have a slice of that strawberry shortcake with my poetry, please! Yum! You always cook up something delicious for Poetry Friday! : )

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  3. I have to say I’m drawn to those lines about laughing. I like the idea that poetry can both transform and play, and needs sometimes to lighten u – float and be simply what it is, not beat a drum. This poem is new to me, too, Jama – thanks for posting it.

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      1. And as long as I’m posting multiple replies, I’ll just add that I like your eye candy, Jama! Can’t wait for Sunday night – it’s Mad Men all the way.

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    1. I agree. Why shouldn’t we feel free to laugh at poetry? For many people, poetry is such a rarefied art form, unfathomable. We should be able to shake our heads at those poets and poems, too.🙂

      Julie, Jon sends his fondest regards. If you hover over his picture, he has a message for you.

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  4. Oh wow, oh wow. Look at that strawberry shortcake. I am positively drooling. I still have a few fresh strawberries at home, maybe I should do more than just dip them in nutella and make something as fantabulous as this… too bad I don’t have time, no time at all – except for poetry, that is.🙂

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    1. LOL! Aha! So you’re one of those people for whom this poem was especially written! Busy Myra, busy, busy Myra! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, though . . .

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      1. Hi Jama, it seems like there are a thousand and one things zooming in on me from various directions (Deadline darts, papers to mark, book chapters to write – such is the story of my life, I suppose), but poetry is my lifeline. There shall always be time for Poetry.🙂

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  5. I’m late to visit, but I squeezed it in! Love the ending, and thanks for the cake! It’s great that you are dedicating your potluck to Mary Oliver.

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  6. Dear Jama – gotta love a poem that doesn’t get its feelings hurt! And really, I just skimmed most of it, but oh man, Mr. Dunn got me at the end. One of my all time favorite poems is by Dunn – it’s called “A Secret Life.” Your shortcake inspires me to make some strawberry COBBLER. (That’s what we do here in the south.) Thanks, as ever, for sharing your delicious loveliness.

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    1. Thanks for pointing me to “A Secret Life.” Isn’t that the truth? Wow.

      Cobbler, shortcake — it’s all good as far as I’m concerned. Strawberry season is upon us!

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