Monday, April 06, 2009

National Poetry Month

Valerie's recent post reminds me that it is National Poetry Month. My intention is to commemorate the month by posting poems by some of my favorite poets, not every day, but I will try for at least once a week.

This first one is by Hayden Carruth, a poet who I was a little obsessed with in the mid-1980s. This is from Doctor Jazz.


Let me tell you, my dear, about the heron I saw

by the edge of Dave Haflett's lovely little pond.

A great blue heron, standing perfectly still, where it had been

studying Dave's rainbows and brookies beneath the surface.

And I too stood perfectly still—as perfectly as I could—

not twenty feet away, each of us contemplative and quiet.

Communication occurred. I felt it. Not just simple

wonder and apprehension, but curiosity and concern.

It was evident. The great bird in its heraldic presence,

so beautifully marked, so poised against the dark green water.

I in my raggedness, with my cigarette smoldering, my eyes

squinting, my cap titlted back. Two invisibly beating hearts.

Then the impetus lapsed. The heron nodded and flew away.

I turned back into Dave's workshop and picked up a wrench.

If goodness exists in the world—and it does—then this moment

was the paradigm of it, a recognition, a life in conjunction with a life.

But why am I compelled to tell you about it? It was wordless.

And why, over and over again, must I write this poem?


Valerie said...

Love the poem...thank you! I've seen heron's in the sky in the past few weeks, but none at the park pond yet.

BTW...I've tagged you for the Proximity award at my blog

Sharon said...

I like that. Valerie introduced me to poetry last year, this month. I had gone on assuming that poetry is what the New Yorker publishes and had never gone out of my way to read any other. I'm glad I was wrong.