What Poem Do You Wish You Had Written?

How many poets does it take to change a light bulb?
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Perry
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What Poem Do You Wish You Had Written?

Post by Perry » Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:14 am

This thread is open to everyone to post on.

The poem that I wish I had written, more than any other, is Richard Wilbur's "Love Calls Us to the Things of This World". In my opinion, the message of this poem is so universal that it speaks for just about every person on the planet. My own point of view is that we are spiritual beings who have chosen to incarnate in a universe of things, so there is really no subject which could be more appropriate to our lives.

Love Calls Us to the Things of This World

.....The eyes open to a cry of pulleys,
And spirited from sleep, the astounded soul
Hangs for a moment bodiless and simple
As false dawn.
...................Outside the open window
The morning air is all awash with angels.

.....Some are in bed-sheets, some are in blouses,
Some are in smocks: but truly there they are.
Now they are rising together in calm swells
Of halcyon feeling, filling whatever they wear
With the deep joy of their impersonal breathing;

.....Now they are flying in place, conveying
The terrible speed of their omnipresence, moving
And staying like white water; and now of a sudden
They swoon down into so rapt a quiet
That nobody seems to be there.
.........................................The soul shrinks

.....From all that it is about to remember,
From the punctual rape of every blessèd day,
And cries,
..............“Oh, let there be nothing on earth but laundry,
Nothing but rosy hands in the rising steam
And clear dances done in the sight of heaven.”

.....Yet, as the sun acknowledges
With a warm look the world’s hunks and colors,
The soul descends once more in bitter love
To accept the waking body, saying now
In a changed voice as the man yawns and rises,

.....“Bring them down from their ruddy gallows;
Let there be clean linen for the backs of thieves;
Let lovers go fresh and sweet to be undone,
And the heaviest nuns walk in a pure floating
Of dark habits,
...................keeping their difficult balance.”

Richard Wilbur

The ironic thing is that this poem is distinctly different from almost everything else that Wilbur wrote. He was a formalist who wrote in meter and rhyme, yet this poem is neither metered nor rhymed. Most of what I write is also not rhymed, and my meter is rarely perfect. It almost sounds like my writing. (There may be a metrical scheme in the poem; I haven't scanned it.)

Wilbur also gives us a perfect example of poetry which is great and crystal clear. As I have said before, the idea that obscurity is a good trait in poetry is a modern trend, a trend which I think will pass.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

1lankest
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Re: What Poem Do You Wish You Had Written?

Post by 1lankest » Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:50 am

A fine poem, Perry. I didn’t know it but I do know Wilber; one of my favourite poems is by him - ‘Piazza Di Spagna, Early Morning.’
Wish I’d written that.

Also this:

Gacela of the Dark Death
Federico García Lorca - 1898-1936

I want to sleep the sleep of the apples,
I want to get far away from the busyness of the cemeteries.
I want to sleep the sleep of that child
who longed to cut his heart open far out at sea.

I don't want them to tell me again how the corpse keeps all its blood,
how the decaying mouth goes on begging for water.
I'd rather not hear about the torture sessions the grass arranges for
nor about how the moon does all its work before dawn
with its snakelike nose.

I want to sleep for half a second,
a second, a minute, a century,
but I want everyone to know that I am still alive,
that I have a golden manger inside my lips,
that I am the little friend of the west wind,
that I am the elephantine shadow of my own tears.

When it's dawn just throw some sort of cloth over me
because I know dawn will toss fistfuls of ants at me,
and pour a little hard water over my shoes
so that the scorpion claws of the dawn will slip off.

Because I want to sleep the sleep of the apples,
and learn a mournful song that will clean all earth away from me,
because I want to live with that shadowy child
who longed to cut his heart open far out at sea.

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Perry
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Re: What Poem Do You Wish You Had Written?

Post by Perry » Mon Aug 26, 2019 9:42 pm

That's certainly an interesting poem. I read it as an elegy for one's youth -- or, for the intensity of emotion that the poet felt as a youth. It needs to be read many times.

I got a reminder today of what an unstable time youth is. A grand nephew of mine has committed suicide by jumping off a cliff -- unfortunately, New Jersey has many cliffs that one can commit suicide from. This was the grandson of a brother I don't have a relationship with, so I never met the grand nephew, but still it is sad.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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