Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Poetry. Not the same as it once was



Today has been a day for me to read poetry.  Some days I do that.  And invariably I will run across some old favorites I've forgotten, or I will run across a poem or a poet I'm not familiar with.  Today this poem I was not familiar with popped up.  And it spoke to me.

Those who believe there aren't any modern poets; that the only poets are those guys whose work you read when you were a young kid in school being forced to memorize a poem to deliver in front of your class are missing out on what's being given to us these days.  

Enjoy this "not your typical old poem" and allow yourself to be surprised -  

French Chocolates

by Ellen Bass

If you have your health, you have everything

is something that's said to cheer you up

when you come home early and find your lover

arched over a stranger in a scarlet thong.

Or it could be you lose your job at Happy Nails

because you can't stop smudging the stars

on those ten teeny American flags.

I don't begrudge you your extravagant vitality.

May it blossom like a cherry tree. May the petals

of your cardiovascular excellence

and the accordion polka of your lungs

sweeten the mornings of your loneliness.

But for the ill, for you with nerves that fire

like a rusted-out burner on an old barbecue,

with bones brittle as spun sugar,

with a migraine hammering like a blacksmith

in the flaming forge of your skull,

may you be spared from friends who say,

God doesn't give you more than you can handle

and ask what gifts being sick has brought you.

May they just keep their mouths shut

and give you French chocolates and daffodils

and maybe a small, original Matisse,

say, Open Window, Collioure, so you can look out

at the boats floating on the dappled pink water.

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