Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Poetry Month

by Tony Towle

someone said Sappho could be understood
only through her original tongue
and I said I didn't think so
as educational as that would probably be

someone wrote that Charles VIII
entered France in the 1490s
and I said to myself: I don't think so
he was born many years before that
but he did penetrate Italy in 1494
as far as Naples, and didn't withdraw
for an entire year, which seems extraordinary
by today's standards
but he finally lost virility and everything else
by hitting his head on a doorway in 1498

someone wrote that gardening was a literature
in which scholars nibbled at the edges
of what appeared to be an insurmountable edifice
and I thought that makes perfect sense
nibbling is an authenti scholarly pursuit
and eventually the edifice will get lower and can be surmounted.

somebody said the cretins painted murals
and got out of labyrinths but that seems unlikely
and someone wrote to say it's time for a poetry museum
but I don't understand how anyone could possibly know that
and isn't that what our books are already
glassless vitrines
where you're allowed to run your fingers over the art
or nibble on the implications
or loiter in the white passageways between the lines
hoping to meet the lenders to the exhibition

If you don't know the meaning of some of the words, go look 'em up. It'll be worth it (in Google, just type "define [word]"--no quotes).

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