by January O’Neil
Every time I attempt to answer this question, I come up with a different answer. And I think that’s part of the reason why I love poetry: because it changes you.
If you’re like me, there are poems you carry around like a child’s security blanket. You pull them out when you need them, no matter how tattered that swath of fabric has become. A good poem can make you feel better about yourself. And it doesn’t matter if you wrote it, heard it at a poetry reading, or received it in the mail from a friend.
Whenever this question comes up, I always fall back on the words of William Carlos Williams from his poem “Asphodel, That Greeny Flower”:
It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day forWords to live by… and I do.
lack of what is found there.
And now, it wouldn’t be Poetry Thursday if I didn’t have a poem. Just wrote it so it’s very rough. No title yet.
Writing a poem about writing a poem
is like trying to find a planet with the naked eye
nothing but the universe to stop you.
Those distant agates captured
under Hubble’s sexy gaze.
Even our bodies are born in explosions,
all of those dark ingredients
expanding and collapsing above us,
inside of us.
A small void becomes a contour of cosmos,
the heavy elements and high mass,
like a poem—the axis of the imagined
and the distorted. Who can sleep
in the dark water of night
writing and sleeping
and waking to write?