Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Two Poems

Two Poems About My Failure to Write More Poems About England

I. Kenilworth

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 clich├ęs 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)


Christopher Tassava said...

Wonderful! Just the thing to get me through the graying afternoon. The first poem reminds me - in a very good way - of Billy Collins' "Workshop." How about a poem every Tuesday? No fair writing poems about how hard it is to write poems, at least until July.

Shan said...

You bring back memories of the month I spent in England during J-Term at Macalester in 1992. It was only a month, and I have a terrible memory, but I did visit Kenilworth, on a day trip from London. I was amazed by it. Wish I could see it again now!

Jim H. said...

Here's how Richard Brautigan expressed a similar feeling:

"April 7, 1969"

I feel so bad today
that I want to write a poem.
I don't care: any poem, this

New Poem: "Phrasebook"

My poem " Phrasebook " has been published online in Ergon: Greek/American Arts and Letters .