Wednesday, June 04, 2008

An Iowa Poem

If you don't subscribe to The Writer's Almanac, you really should.

Below is a poem you would never read in any anthology that is too cool for school. I love the Writer's Almanac, because they take risks; they post poetry that isn't written in iambic pentameter, or referencing the Greeks.

When I studied poetry (with writers who were in the infamous and mostly bitter U of Iowa Writers Workshop) it seemed that the only poetry admired was cold and undecipherable. If your poetry had any heart, you were considered sentimental and super lamo. I remember a kid in my class wrote a poem about his mom dying of cancer. It was beautiful and I'll never forget one line. As he held his mother's dying hand, he said, "I push all the love I can through my fingers." I will never, ever forget that. Our teacher was not impressed. Ten years later, I still am.

Here's another great one...about Iowa.

Farmhouses, Iowa

Invariably, a family in each one
And someone opening the fridge to fetch
A carton of milk, someone sitting in
A chair and shelling peas, someone looking

Out a window at a barn, two willow trees.
Solitude broods like a pursuing shadow;
A radio fades in and out -the voice
Eager yet eerie. Three ages anchor

The oaken dinner table: Mom and Dad
Up-before-dawn weary, Grandma perturbed
About half-thawed rolls, the children recounting
School stories, then silent. In the parlor
A whiskey tumbler rests beside a Bible.
The old collie whimpers when a car goes by.

"Farmhouses, Iowa" by Baron Wormser, from Scattered Chapters. © Sarabande Books, 2008.

1 comment:

Casey said...

"I push all the love I can through my fingers."

That is a beautiful line. I will never forget it because it is so true.