Help me find some paradoxical poems.
September 25, 2010 1:58 PM   Subscribe

Paradoxical Poems

I'm a bit ignorant when it comes to poetry . I'm wondering if there are any recommendations for poems that could be considered to have the same spirit as the work of M.C. Escher, as in; using clever paradoxes, and perhaps revealing them as you read the entire poem, and doing so in an amusing way and with words not pictures.

I'm not looking for nonsense poems, which I quite like, but I assume there has to be at least one or two genius poets out there who fit the bill, and if anyone is going to know of them you guys will.

Also, it's poetry I'm looking for, and ideally a book I can read, as opposed to song lyrics. That said, I'd enjoy checking those out too.
posted by Elmore to Writing & Language (24 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
The English Lesson

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes;
but the plural of ox became oxen not oxes.

One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice;
yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?

If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet,
and I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?

If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
and the plural of cat is cats, not cose.

We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
but though we say mother, we never say methren.

Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
but imagine the feminine, she, shis and shim.

Many more here.
posted by NoraCharles at 2:13 PM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


John Donne's poetry -- at least the poetry that sort of rides between "sex is awesome" and "I love God" -- may fit your qualifications, but I can't really explain why. At least not without going back in time and paying more attention in my Poetry of the 17th Century class.

Take a look at A Valediction Forbidding Mourning and read up on the metaphysical poets.
posted by griphus at 2:16 PM on September 25, 2010


One of my favorite poems might fit the bill:

Let Me Make This Perfectly Clear
Gwendolyn MacEwen

Let me make this perfectly clear.
I have never written anything because it is a Poem.
This is a mistake you always make about me,
A dangerous mistake. I promise you
I am not writing this because it is a Poem.

You suspect this is a posture or an act
I am sorry to tell you it is not an act.

You actually think I care if this
Poem gets off the ground or not. Well
I don't care if this poem gets off the ground or not
And neither should you.
All I have every cared about
And all you should ever care about
Is what happens when you lift your eyes from this page.

Do not think for one minute it is the Poem that matters.
Is is not the Poem that matters.
You can shove the Poem.
What matters is what is out there in the large dark
and in the long light,
Breathing.
posted by yaymukund at 2:19 PM on September 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


Some of Robert Browning's dramatic monologues seem to fit, like "Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister" (featuring a monk who hates another monk for not being religious enough) or "The Bishop Orders His Tomb at Saint Praxed's Church" (featuring a different spiteful member of the Catholic clergy). These characters are more hypocritical than paradoxical, though. Browning's most famous poem is probably "My Last Duchess". If you're interested in a collection of his, Men and Women (1855) might be a good start.
posted by monkeymonkey at 3:04 PM on September 25, 2010


Thanks for all the input so far. A real life person suggested this poem, which is just the sort of thing I'm looking for. More please...

Sylvia Plath

Mirror

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see, I swallow immediately.
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike
I am not cruel, only truthful –
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.

Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me.
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

posted by Elmore at 3:43 PM on September 25, 2010


Emily Dickinson wrote many riddlelike and paradoxical poems. Here are some that come first to mind:

#284, 1862 (heavy on the paradox):
The Zeroes taught Us - Phosphorus -
We learned to like the Fire
By handling Glaciers - when a Boy -
And Tinder - guessed - by power

Of Opposite - to equal Ought -
Eclipses - Suns - imply -
Paralysis - our Primer dumb
Unto Vitality -
#720, 1863:
As if the Sea should part
And show a further Sea -
And that - a further - and the Three
But a Presumption be -

Of Periods of Seas -
Unvisited of Shores -
Themselves the Verge of Seas to be -
Eternity - is Those -
#729, 1863:
The Props assist the House -
Until the House is Built -
And then the Props withdraw -
And adequate - Erect -

The House support itself -
And cease to recollect
The Scaffold and the Carpenter -
Just such a Retrospect
Hath the Perfected Life -
A Past of Plank - and Nail -
And Slowness - then the Stagings drop -
Affirming it - A Soul -
posted by cirripede at 3:44 PM on September 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Drawing

by Sabrina Orah Mark

Walter B. hurled a plum at his congregants, looked unsure, and began his sermon.“I stand before you today because I am secretly . . .” He paused, sat down on the pulpit, and unwrapped a second plum. His congregants flinched. Walter B. took a bite. Beatrice sat in the second row. She drew a pond on her lunchbag. Beside the pond she drew a nurse, and beside the nurse, on the wet ground, he drew a plum. And leaning over the plum she drew Walter B. “I stand before you today,” resumed Walter B., “because I am secretly . . .” Beatrice considered drawing a shed, but would there be ramifications? Perhaps too many. With each bite Walter B. seemed closer to the pit. Nevertheless Beatrice felt brave. She drew the shed, and as she drew her small dark mouth opened a slice. “Like a plum,” whispered one congregant to another. The conger- gants flinched. Capturing a scene was beginning to feel more difficult than Beatrice had imagined. In order for Walter B. to look like a real Walter B., she would need to draw action. Should Walter B. move closer to the shed? Was the plum dis- tracting? “Because I am secretly . . .” resumed Walter B. He rocked back and forth. He coughed. He took another bite. The congregants were beginning to drift off to sleep. How could he put this, he wondered. In order for Walter B. to look like a real Walter B. he would need a purpose. Maybe the nurse is lost. Maybe there is something about the nurse Walter B. likes. Something to do with the way she is eerily staring into the pond. And where is Beatrice, wondered Beatrice. She is in the shed. There would be ramifications. In order for Walter B. to look like a real Walter B. he would need to approach the nurse and speak to her until one thing led to another. “I stand before you today . . .,” resumed Walter B., but how could he go on? How could he go on without hurting Beatrice? Poor plum- less Beatrice with no one to talk to but the chickens in the shed. But there were no chickens. Which was why, when the sermon was over, and the congregants gathered around to study the drawing they agreed unanimously that the scene was not believable.

from Tsim Tsum
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 3:51 PM on September 25, 2010


Shiver & You Have Weather

by Matthea Harvey

In the aftermath of calculus
your toast fell butter-side down.

Squirrels swarmed the lawns
in flight patterns. The hovercraft

helped the waves along. From
every corner there was perspective.

On the billboards the diamonds
were real, in the stores, only zirconia.

I cc’ed you. I let you know.
Sat down to write the Black Ice Memo.

Dinner would be meager &
reminiscent of next week’s lunch.

So what if I sat on the sectional?
As always I was beside myself.


from Sad Little Breathing Machine

posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 3:52 PM on September 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


The map room

by Joshua Clover

We moved into a house with 6 rooms: the Bedroom,
the Map Room, the Vegas Room, Cities
in the Flood Plains, the West, & the Room Which Contains All
of Mexico. We honeymooned in the Vegas Room where
lounge acts wasted our precious time. Then there was the junta's
high command, sick dogs of the Map Room, heel-
prints everywhere, pushing model armies into the unfurnished
West. At night: stories of their abandoned homes in the Cities
in the Flood Plains, how they had loved each other
mercilessly, in rusting cars, until the drive-in went under.
From the Bedroom we called the decorator & demanded
a figurehead... the one true diva to be had
in All of Mexico: Maria Felix [star of The Devourer, star
of The Lady General]. Nightly in Vegas, "It's Not Unusual"
or the Sex Pistols medley. Nothing ever comes back
from the West, it's a one-way door, a one-shot deal,--
the one room we never slept in together. My wife
wants to rename it The Ugly Truth. I love my wife for her
wonderful, light, creamy, highly reflective skin;
if there's an illumination from the submerged Cities,
that's her. She suspects me of certain acts involving Maria Felix,
the gambling debts mount...but when she sends the junta off to Bed
we rendezvous in the Map Room & sprawl across the New World
with our heads to the West. I sing her romantic melodies from the Room
Which Contains All of Mexico, tunes which keep arriving
like heaven, in waves of raw data, & though I wrote
none of the songs myself & can't pronounce them, these are my
greatest hits


and


Bathtub Panopticon

by Joshua Clover

I had a little desert, I kept it in the study,
it was a few inches across, like a hand mirror,
it moved a few inches at a time, like an ice age,
I listened to 'Cortez', the atonal opera mecanique,
you could spend a siecle waiting for it to begin,
cancel every date, another siecle before the fin,
who isn't happy to be a killing machine?,
for 6 years I didn't cut myself shaving, Charlotte,
my razor spoke in the voice of the world-historical,
my desert bloomed with thumb-sized palms,
had a little Revolution, had a little mirage,
brained me with a calendar, I loved the 2nd act,
"Fear, comma, The Great", the white voice of it,
the score wheeling around like a spinning-jenny,
the littlebook smashed like a spinning-jenny,
I leaned the bathwater back into your cotton bodice,
oh I knew I was supposed to locate it in the body,
this modest end-of-things, you need the body
to have the phrase "to go to bed," Charlotte,
you need the body to have a place to hang your head,
you send the desert to the Foreign Legion: like the razor says,
"you need the Mountain to have Cortez,"
the razor says "the avant-garde is ideologically unsound,
Charlotte, you need the razor to have Marat"


both from Madonna anno domini
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 3:59 PM on September 25, 2010


Unit of Measure

by Sandra Beasley

All can be measured by the standard of the capybara.
Everyone is lesser than or greater than the capybara.
Everything is taller or shorter than the capybara.
Everything is mistaken for a Brazilian dance craze
more or less frequently than the capybara.
Everyone eats greater or fewer watermelons
than the capybara. Everyone eats more or less bark.
Everyone barks more than or less than the capybara,
who also whistles, clicks, grunts, and emits what is known
as his alarm squeal. Everyone is more or less alarmed
than a capybara, who—because his back legs
are longer than his front legs—feels like
he is going downhill at all times.
Everyone is more or less a master of grasses
than the capybara. Or going by the scientific name,
more or less Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris
or, going by the Greek translation, more or less
water hog. Everyone is more or less
of a fish than the capybara, defined as the outermost realm
of fishdom by the 16th-century Catholic Church.
Everyone is eaten more or less often for Lent than
the capybara. Shredded, spiced, and served over plantains,
everything tastes more or less like pork
than the capybara. Before you decide that you are
greater than or lesser than a capybara, consider
that while the Brazilian capybara breeds only once a year,
the Venezuelan variety mates continuously.
Consider the last time you mated continuously.
Consider the year of your childhood when you had
exactly as many teeth as the capybara—
twenty—and all yours fell out, and all his
kept growing. Consider how his skin stretches
in only one direction. Accept that you are stretchier
than the capybara. Accept that you have foolishly
distributed your eyes, ears, and nostrils
all over your face. Accept that now you will never be able
to sleep underwater. Accept that the fish
will never gather to your capybara body offering
their soft, finned love. One of us, they say, one of us,
but they will not say it to you.

from I Was the Jukebox
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 4:04 PM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Full of Knives


by Zachary Schomburg


1. His back is full of knives. Notes are brittle around the blades.

2. He sleeps face down every night in a chalk outline of himself.

3. He has difficulties with metal detectors.

4. At birthday parties, someone might politely ask, may I borrow one of those knives to slice this chocolate cake?

5. He likes to stand with his back to walls. At restaurants, he likes the corner tables.

6. There is a detective that calls him to ask about the brittle notes. Also: a biographer, a woman who'd like to film a documentary, a curator of a museum, his mother. I can't read them, he says. They're on my back.

7. It would be a mistake for anyone to assume he wants the knives removed.

8. Most of the brittle notes are illegible. One of them, even, is written in French.

9. Every Halloween, he goes as a victim of a brutal stabbing. Once, he tried going as a whale, but it was a hassle explaining away the knives.

10. He always wears the same bloody suit.

11. When he walks, he sounds like a tree still full of dead leaves holding on.

12. It is ok for children to count on his knives, but not to climb on them.

13. He saw his own shadow in a park. He moved his body to make the knives reach other people's shadows. He did it all evening. In the shadows, his knives looked like soft outstretched arms.

14. His back is running out of space.

15. On a trip to Paris, he fell in love and ended up staying for a few years. He got a job performing on the street with the country's best mimes.

16. The knives are what hold him together. It is the notes that are slowly killing him.

17. He is difficult to hold when he cries.

18. He will be very old when he dies and the Doctor will say, he was obviously stabbed, brutally and repeatedly. I'm sorry, the Doctor will say to a person in the room, but he's not going to make it.


from The Man Suit
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 4:42 PM on September 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


Kingdom Come

by Matthew Zapruder

She asked me how long it will be
until the giant black rose
she has seen in her dreams
bursts out of the ocean just beyond
the walls of the circular city
and drips molten fire on the heads
of likenesses of the smiling gods
who sent a message from outside
our solar system crying
and swearing to protect us
if we built them. Quite
a long time. Probably many
hundreds of years. First we must
build the circular walls,
then the towers and the steps.
Then we must build the satellite array
and send it into the atmosphere.
And we don't have that
technology yet. The scientists
who can dream of building it
have not yet even been born. So
for now I say to her let us live
here in this apartment and make
sounds of love on this futon
while outside the window the orange
extension cable strangles
the white and green flowering branch
and monks cry anciently on the radio.

from Come on All You Ghosts
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 4:50 PM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Printed Page

I am not now thinking about the tree struck by lightning.
It is you
Who is thinking about the tree, how
It was struck by lightning.

--Jack Anderson

Oh My God, I'll Never Get Home

A piece of a man had broken off in a road. He picked it up and put it in his pocket.

As he stooped to pick up another piece he came apart at the waist.

His bottom half was still standing. He walked over on his elbows and grabbed the seat of his pants and said, legs go home.

But as they were going along his head fell off. His head yelled, legs stop.

And then one of his knees came apart. But meanwhile his heart had dropped out of his trunk.

As his head screamed, legs turn around, his tongue fell out.

Oh my God, he thought, I’ll never get home.

--Russell Edson
posted by drlith at 5:40 PM on September 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Read This Poem from the Bottom Up


This simple cathedral of praise
How you made, from the bottom up,
Is for you to remember
Of Andromeda. What remains

Until you meet the ancient light
With your sight you can keep ascending
Its final transformation into space.
And uphold

The horizon's urge to sculpt the sky
Puts into relief
Your family's mountain land
Upon the rising air. In the distance

A windward falcon is open high and steady
Far above the tallest tree
Just beyond your height.
You see a young pine lifting its green spire

By raising your eyes
Out onto the roof deck.
You pass through sliding glass doors
And up to where the stairway ends.

To the top of the penultimate stanza
Past the second story,
But now you're going the other way,
Line by line, to the bottom of the page.

A force that usually pulls you down,
Of moving against the gravity of habit,
While trying not to notice the effort
And feel what it's like to climb stairs




-- Ruth Porritt
posted by exlotuseater at 7:07 PM on September 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Not quite nonsense poetry, and I offer them as they do sort of fit the bill:

There once was a limerick
But this isn't it.
This isn't a limerick;
It isn't even a poem.

Carl Muckenhoupt

Once there was a guy from Atlanta whose limericks were indistinguishable from prose.
Elliott Moreton
posted by sixswitch at 12:27 AM on September 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Now, as I tell you about the Emperor, you see him, the Emperor, in the
midst of everything,
as I tell you about the Emperor, you see: it is Winter, the Emperor’s lonely,
the Emperor is an image that becomes clear when darkness descends,

the Emperor is an image,
darkness is descending,
the fallen trees on the slopes are like an eagle’s nest, the dense dryness of branches,
and the Emperor is alone, and he is clear,
he is in his pleasure palace, cold in winter,
he is the one you see most clearly in the dark, and thought, bird, horned owl,
your blindfolded thought still sees, even in the dark
the Emperor.

I have misled you, and you stand in front of a wintry mountain
and try to catch a glimpse through the branches, of the Emperor
who doesn’t exist at all,
when you close your eyes, you see once again the Emperor in his palace of pleasure

and his image is clear,

I have misled you, now open your eyes, and don’t listen to me,
the power of the Empire is in your heart, there it is great,
the Empire is born and falls in the blink of an eye,

it dies when the eyes are opened.

—Paavo Haavikko, excerpt from The Bowmen.
posted by misteraitch at 4:42 AM on September 26, 2010


I think you might be interested in Nabokov's Pale Fire. It is a novel published as notes to a poem, and a unique literary achievement. I believe there is a plan afoot to re-publish the poem alone (without the notes-novel) but I don't have time to check that right now.
posted by trip and a half at 8:42 AM on September 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


You might try exploring the 'Martian' school of poetry, 'a minor movement in British poetry in the late 1970s and early 1980s' says Wikipedia, rather dismissively, but I think it's lasted much better than most of the poetry of that period. Here's the poem that gave the movement its name, Craig Raine's 'A Martian Sends a Postcard Home':

Caxtons are mechanical birds with many wings
and some are treasured for their markings -

they cause the eyes to melt
or the body to shriek without pain.

I have never seen one fly, but
sometimes they perch on the hand.

Mist is when the sky is tired of flight
and rests its soft machine on ground:

then the world is dim and bookish
like engravings under tissue paper.

Rain is when the earth is television.
It has the property of making colours darker.

Model T is a room with the lock inside -
a key is turned to free the world

for movement, so quick there is a film
to watch for anything missed.

But time is tied to the wrist
or kept in a box, ticking with impatience.

In homes, a haunted apparatus sleeps,
that snores when you pick it up.

If the ghost cries, they carry it
to their lips and soothe it to sleep

with sounds. And yet they wake it up
deliberately, by tickling with a finger.

Only the young are allowed to suffer
openly. Adults go to a punishment room

with water but nothing to eat.
They lock the door and suffer the noises

alone. No one is exempt
and everyone's pain has a different smell.

At night when all the colours die,
they hide in pairs

and read about themselves -
in colour, with their eyelids shut.


If you want more, try Craig Raine's Collected Poems or Christopher Reid's early collections Arcadia and Pea Soup.

Going back a thousand years or so, you might also enjoy some of the riddles in the Exeter Book:

I am a wonderful help to women,
The hope of something to come. I harm
No citizen except my slayer.
Rooted I stand on a high bed.
I am shaggy below. Sometimes the beautiful
Peasant's daughter, an eager-armed,
Proud woman grabs my body,
Rushes my red skin, holds me hard,
Claims my head. The curly-haired
Woman who catches me fast will feel
Our meeting. Her eye will be wet.

posted by verstegan at 9:26 AM on September 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Jo Walton recently wrote a poem that might fit: http://papersky.livejournal.com/481063.html
posted by lorimt at 9:58 AM on September 26, 2010


Sea of Faith

by John Brehm

Once when I was teaching “Dover Beach”
to a class of freshmen, a young woman
raised her hand and said, “I'm confused
about this 'Sea of Faith.' “ “Well,” I said,
“let's talk about it. We probably need
to talk a bit about figurative language.
What confuses you about it?”
“I mean, is it a real sea?” she asked.
“You mean, is it a real body of water
that you could point to on a map
or visit on a vacation?”
“Yes,” she said. “Is it a real sea?”
Oh Christ, I thought, is this where we are?
Next year I'll be teaching them the alphabet
and how to sound words out.
I'll have to teach them geography, apparently,
before we can move on to poetry.
I'll have to teach them history, too-
a few weeks on the Dark Ages might be instructive.
“Yes,” I wanted to say, “it is.
It is a real sea. In fact it flows
right into the Sea of Ignorance
IN WHICH YOU ARE DROWNING.
Let me throw you a Rope of Salvation
before the Sharks of Desire gobble you up.
Let me hoist you back up onto this Ship of Fools
so that we might continue our search
for the Fountain of Youth. Here, take a drink
of this. It's fresh from the River of Forgetfulness.”
But of course I didn't say any of that.
I tried to explain in such a way
as to protect her from humiliation,
tried to explain that poets
often speak of things that don't exist.
It was only much later that I wished
I could have answered differently,
only after I'd betrayed myself
and been betrayed that I wished
it was true, wished there really was a Sea of Faith
that you could wade out into,
dive under its blue and magic waters,
hold your breath, swim like a fish
down to the bottom, and then emerge again
able to believe in everything, faithful
and unafraid to ask even the simplest of questions,
happy to have them simply answered.
posted by daikon at 1:15 PM on September 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


As a disclaimer, this is not about specific poems, but about a general approach to poetry.

That said, you're in luck. One of the foremost paradigms of poetic study in America in the last century was a movement gathered under the heading of "New Criticism". The New Critics, mostly active in the 30s through 50s (i.e., immediately after the peak of "High" Modernism in poetry), tried to reject the study of poetry as a study of influences (whether historical, personal/psychological, or political) and look at a poem as what they would call a self-contained, self-referential aesthetic object. The contemporary practice of "close reading," reading a poem with a rigorous formal attention to the interaction of specific words in a specific order at the level of the word itself, owes a lot to the New Critics.

For your purposes, this is good news, because when you exile history, politics, and psychology from your toolbox of poetic interpretation, what you're left with are paradigms of study internal to the text itself. First among these, according to the New Critics, was paradox (ambiguity rates a close second). All this is to say that for a solid 20 years of poetry scholarship and study, Paradox was the apotheosis of poetry - the greatest possible goal towards which it strove. You have the benefit of a wonderful archive of scholarship about paradox in poetry.

So, where to start? I'd say go to a local library or bookstore, depending on how much dough you want to sink into exploring poetic paradox, and pick up copies of William Empson's "Seven Types Of Ambiguity," and Cleanth Brooks' "The Well-Wrought Urn." This latter starts with a discussion of paradox as the preferred mode of poetic language, and might be a good place for you to start looking. As you read, keep a poetry anthology (or the internet, I guess, but all else equal I'd recommend the Norton Anthology of Poetry) nearby, and read the poems under discussion. Let Brooks and Empson walk you through them. Savor them.

"The Well-Wrought Urn" refers to Keats' Grecian Urn, a good poem to start to think about New Critical issues with, as it is both explicitly about a self-contained aesthetic artifact that exists divorced from its context, and also a fairly rigorous attempt to come to terms with the paradoxical quality of aesthetic time and the lived experience of temporality.

Have fun!
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 11:57 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


"You Fit Into Me"

You fit into me
like a hook into an eye

a fish hook
an open eye

-Margaret Atwood
posted by Eumachia L F at 5:20 PM on September 27, 2010


Not sure if this is what you're looking for, but here's Ishmael Reed's "Beware: Do Not Read this Poem":

tonite, thriller was
abt an ol woman, so vain she
surrounded herself w /
many mirrors

it got so bad that finally she
locked herself indoors & her
whole life became the
mirrors

one day the villagers broke
into her house , but she was too
swift for them . she disappeared
into a mirror
each tenant who bought the house
after that , lost a loved one to

the ol woman in the mirror :
first a little girl
then a young woman
then the young woman/s husband

the hunger of this poem is legendary
it has taken in many victims
back off from this poem
it has drawn in yr feet
back off from this poem
it has drawn in yr legs

back off from this poem
it is a greedy mirror
you are into this poem . from
the waist down
nobody can hear you can they ?
this poem has had you up to here
belch
this poem aint got no manners
you cant call out frm this poem
relax now & go w / this poem

move & roll on to this poem
do not resist this poem
this poem has yr eyes
this poem has his head
this poem has his arms
this poem has his fingers
this poem has his fingertips

this poem is the reader & the
reader this poem

statistic : the us bureau of missing persons re-
ports that in 1968 over 100,000 people
disappeared leaving no solid clues
nor trace only
a space in the lives of their friends
posted by Ragged Richard at 1:08 PM on September 30, 2010


Oh, and also, along different lines, one of my favorite poems is "Elegy" by W. S. Merwin. Here's the whole poem:

“Elegy”

Who would I show it to

–W.S. Merwin
posted by Ragged Richard at 1:11 PM on September 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


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