This is the poem about the Beatles that
I never wrote, and now there are more
yesterdays than tomorrows
These birches were growing and sinking into their own soil
around the time of the building of Jericho
I swore I’d stop writing about liberal guilt
& about cats too, but I must confess
last night, I groomed our little black cat
with my tongue
a squirrel is hurling insults, and beneath his screeches the cicadas
insist and sigh, insist and sigh, unmoved by his grandiloquent snit.
How do we weather this welter of bad news? How do we adapt?
But larks have not forgotten to fly
And grass still sprouts from the earth of Kabul
And rivers are replenished by the snows of Pamirs
And the groves of Samangan are filled with sounds of birds.
Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?
If any doubts arise, the wind dispels them instantly.
The first week in the first year of the plague,
when we told ourselves there was no plague,
the flowers were more than willing
to confirm our opinion.
Verlaine threw pail after pail after
cold water pail on the gravel under Rimbaud’s
windows, to cool the air as he slept.
Anyone who hasn’t been in the Chilean forest doesn’t know this planet. I have come out of that landscape, that mud, that silence, to roam, to go singing through the world.
Here’s an exercise which I call Jumping into the Mud although it’s sometimes called by the more prosaic name automatic writing. The exercise helps to loosen my imagination, and sometimes a decent poem results as well.