Two Poems About My Failure to Write More Poems About England
Though I pass it daily on my walk,
it still feels strange
to put Kenilworth Castle into a poem,
like an affectation,
an empty gesture, a boast.
And now that it’s here, in this poem,
I don’t know what to do with it,
its ruined walls and towers
standing out above the poem’s
otherwise modest claims,
too bulky to be shaped into simile—
though the clichés circle
like rooks above the ruined keep,
cawing sic transit gloria mundi,
as if we needed another poem about mortality.
Written in Kenilworth, Warwickshire (Spring 2007)
II. Thinking of England in the Spring
England should have given me castles and cathedrals,
hedgerows and weather to write about,
and ruined abbeys, and sheep, and pots of Yorkshire tea.
I should have come home with new similes
like stamps in my passport to show where I had been.
But all I can think of now is how these tiny buds
must be like the Tardis to contain so much leaf.
Written in Northfield, Minnesota (Spring 2008)
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