Monday, January 19, 2009

A Bit of Poetry

A few weeks ago I was listening to the radio programme, 'Fresh Air', as seems to be my habit these days as I prepare the daily evening feast. On this particular occasion, Terry Gross was interviewing Pulitzer prize winning poet, W. S. Merwin. I had never heard of him before, although that is saying very little as I do not tend to read a great deal of poetry, and certainly have a poor knowledge of contemporary poets. But there was something about him that I connected with. These days I try to pay attention to such feelings, as they can lead to very interesting discoveries. Merwin has a new collection of poems out called 'The Shadow of Sirius' which he read from and spoke about. His latest work delves into the world of memory and mortality, having lost both his parents in fairly quick succession and since that was the subject of my 'Family Matters' project I felt it was important for me to read these works. The book is a beautiful object in itself. It is, as a note in the back states "set in Verdigris typeface, and printed on archival quality paper", heavy and solid to the touch. Instead of giving you my opinion of the poems, I post a couple here for you to read. If they resonate with you, I recommend picking up a copy of this book yourself.

A Likeness

Almost to your birthday and as I
am getting dressed alone in the house
a button falls off and once I find 
a needle with an eye big enough
for me to try to thread it
and at last have sewed the button on
I open an old picture of you
who always did such things by magic
one photograph found after you died
of you at twenty
beautiful in a way
I would never see
for that was nine years 
before I was born
but the picture has
faded suddenly
spots have marred it
maybe it is past repair
I have only what I remember

A Momentary Creed

I believe in the ordinary day
that is here at this moment and is me

I do not see it going its own way
but I never saw how it came to me

it extends beyond whatever I may
think I know and all that is real to me

it is the present that it bears away
where has it gone when it has gone from me

there is no place I know outside today
except for the unknown all around me

the only presence that appears to stay
everything that I call mine it lent me

even the way that I believe the day
for as long as it is here and is me.

If you are interested, listen to the interview here.

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