438 Poetry Patrol: Spoon

DSC05312Stainless approaching the ditch, not in

it, not in the road, that nowhere land of fried grass

and pancaked beer cans. Oh spoon,

who dropped you? Why? You are a good spoon,

great ice cream scooping size, perfect

for hearty Rice Krispies and Cheerios eaters,

too large for drugs, too small for serving size.

I will find a home for you.

It is what I do.

–Shaun Perkins

Road 438 is the one leading to the museum. I routinely patrol it in the golf cart and pick up trash—anything here forever, like plastic, aluminum, glass. I leave most paper items unless they are huge or are interesting fodder for future poems. Yesterday, I found this spoon. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it.

Poetry has no part in society

nopoetryA friend of a Facebook friend (neither of whom I know personally) posted this today:

I feel like poetry has no part in society. We never use poetry in our lives but sometimes it is fun to read. I feel like if poetry doesn’t rhyme then it isn’t a poem.

******

I feel like poetry has no part in society.

Young One, you are right. It has no “part.” It has, in fact, a “whole.” It is the whole of our society. It exists to take its flashlight into the darkness of the human soul and shine it around and show everybody else what’s going on in there.

Shelley said in another century that poets were the unacknowledged legislators of the world. I still believe this to be true. A poet is a special kind of being who feels compelled to use the form to uncover truths about our world. It, thus, does not have a part: It instead demands the all.

We never use poetry in our lives.

My Child, the first tool of the poet is metaphor. Have you made any comparisons today? Bet you have, whether you said them, wrote them or just thought them. We can’t help but be metaphor-makers.

Has a poem ever enriched your life? Of course, it has, whether you think about it every day or not: It has impacted you. From the poetry in nursery rhymes you heard as a child to the specious poetry of advertising to the tales of Shakespeare and The Odyssey and The Iliad, passages from the Bible, poems that became songs and songs that became poems: These pieces all live in us.

You can’t use poetry like you use a blow dryer or a pencil or a chainsaw. You let poetry use you. You let the language and the experience embodied in those words use you to create a picture in the mind’s eye and a way of being in the physical body. We are the filters for the experience of poetry. We are the tools, not the poems.

But sometimes it is fun to read.

Agreed.

I feel like if poetry doesn’t rhyme then it isn’t a poem.

Is this a poem?

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
Then.

Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.

Damn straight it is. Langston Hughes. Word.

Innocent One, there is no definitive idea of what a poem is. My favorite definition of poetry is Emily Dickinson’s. She said that if she felt when reading as if the top of her head were coming off, then she knew it was poetry.

Saying a poem has to rhyme is like saying the sun goes around the earth. Both propositions were never true even when they were a part of the collective unconscious.

January

photo(4)Shower the world with crackling leaves,
Dead and limp before but now firm
From frozen dew, this ground your signal
To the creatures you watch in the night.
Shower the broken places with jangles
Of icy prairie grass and let the spring thaw
Spark life never imagined, never believed
In the time of winter’s locked prison.
Shower me with kisses melting hours
Apart, reclaiming late winter sun
When we walked along a silent river
And I saw how you had changed my life.

for Ken

–Shaun Perkins

This World is Open

worldisopenWe have these stories about the perfect place. That first Biblical story of the land of love and fruit created in the image of the fruit-maker, the lover of all things sensory, all things finite and mortal. Potential blossomed on the vines trailing across the garden paths.

Paradise in the stories where people go to find the lost world of hope and opportunity, where the streets glisten with welcome and the seasons adopt the human to nurture through change. Continue reading

Arrival

creepy_creek_by_bugonawall-d3dy26bThe first place I looked was where the spring rounded the grove of oaks and began to widen into a creek shadowed by sycamores. The moss grew thick on the bare spots of earth where the sun only reached in winter speckles between branches. It spread across the rocks—outcropped on the edges of the creek and sunk into the bank sloping up to a path the deer and raccoon spent their lives making. Continue reading