“Write poetry as if you were in love. If you are always in love you will not always write the same poem, but if you are never in love you may.” ~ Kenneth Koch
Happy June! Here’s a little Kenneth Koch to nudge your nouns and activate your adjectives.
PERMANENTLY by Kenneth Koch One day the Nouns were clustered in the street. An Adjective walked by, with her dark beauty. The Nouns were struck, moved, changed. The next day a Verb drove up, and created the Sentence. Each Sentence says one thing -- for example, “Although it was a dark rainy day when the Adjective walked by, I shall remember the pure and sweet expression on her face until the day I perish from the green, effective earth.” Or, “Will you please close the window, Andrew?” Or, for example, “Thank you, the pink pot of flowers on the window sill has changed color recently to a light yellow, due to the heat from the boiler factory which exists nearby.” In the springtime the Sentences and the Nouns lay silently on the grass. A lonely Conjunction here and there would call, “And! But!” But the Adjective did not emerge. As the adjective is lost in the sentence, So I am lost in your eyes, ears, nose, and throat -- You have enchanted me with a single kiss Which can never be undone Until the destruction of language. ~ from Selected Poems, 1950-1982 (Vintage, 1985)
Charming, conversational, lighthearted, with quite a surprise at the end. Did you realize this was a love poem when you first started reading it? Love Koch’s disarming approach. 🙂
Perhaps, like me, you were delighted with how he cleverly personified the parts of speech, immediately drawing us in at the beginning with characters we’re more accustomed to diagramming than dallying with.Continue reading