Bad Poetry

In this Penn grad class I"m taking, we get to write a short story and then we're going to also be writing poetry. We had our first fiction workshop this week, and it seemed clear that some of the students might be more comfortable in the poetry realm--lots of heavy imagery and repetition; stuff like :"words, words--what are words? Silent words Words as heavy as snow. Wordsmith-ing of the word in the dark scream of the throat." (Reminds me of Woody Allen's Love and Death, where the characters are parodying Russian literature... "Wheat.....wheat.....fields of wheat.....cream of wheat....."). Of course, I am terrified of poetry--I am sure most of mine will be bad. In fact, I know that I write fantastic at bad poetry. Here's a poem I wrote yesterday after eating lunch at Pod with a writer friend of mine:

The dumplings
sat fat and juicy
Like the heart of an over
weight midget

Maybe I will be okay if we can write narrative poetry ala Billy Collins. You can actually read a post from 2007 where I reference the one time I met him. I am told that I might also like Pablo Neruda.

The first thing I found upon Googling Pablo Neruda:

"A Dog Has Died"

My dog has died
I buried him in the garden
next to a rusted old machine.

Some day I'll join him right there,
but now he's gone with his shaggy coat,
his bad manners and his cold nose,
and I, the materialist, who never believed
in any promised heaven in the sky
for any human being,
I believe in a heaven I'll never enter.
Yes, I believe in a heaven for all dogdom
where my dog waits for my arrival
waving his fan-like tail in friendship.

Ai, I'll not speak of sadness here on earth,
of having lost a companion
who was never servile.
His friendship for me, like that of a porcupine
withholding its authority,
was the friendship of a star, aloof,
with no more intimacy than was called for,
with no exaggerations:
he never climbed all over my clothes
filling me full of his hair or his mange,
he never rubbed up against my knee
like other dogs obsessed with sex.

No, my dog used to gaze at me,
paying me the attention I need,
the attention required
to make a vain person like me understand
that, being a dog, he was wasting time,
but, with those eyes so much purer than mine,
he'd keep on gazing at me
with a look that reserved for me alone
all his sweet and shaggy life,
always near me, never troubling me,
and asking nothing.

Ai, how many times have I envied his tail
as we walked together on the shores of the sea
in the lonely winter of Isla Negra
where the wintering birds filled the sky
and my hairy dog was jumping about
full of the voltage of the sea's movement:
my wandering dog, sniffing away
with his golden tail held high,
face to face with the ocean's spray.

Joyful, joyful, joyful,
as only dogs know how to be happy
with only the autonomy
of their shameless spirit.

There are no good-byes for my dog who has died,
and we don't now and never did lie to each other.

So now he's gone and I buried him,
and that's all there is to it. 

Translated, from the Spanish, by Alfred Yankauer  

This has now given me permission to write poems about Henri's dying. Mostly, it would have to have lines line: Lion head, kitten heart, white paw like a ladies glove.

I won't do that. I can just give you the visual proof from 2009. He was always hiding.


rangr said…
How do you decide something is bad. I liked your small poem.