Monday, October 02, 2006

The way I want to write:

Ars Poetica
by Archibald MacLeish

A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit,
Dumb
As old medallions to the thumb,
Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown--
A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds.
*
A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs,
Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,
Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,
Memory by memory the mind--
A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs.
*
A poem should be equal to:
Not true.
For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf.
For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea--
A poem should not mean
But be.

7 comments:

Nonny said...

I completely agree. I like my poetry simple. I don't want to have to try and derive some deep meaning. Just give it to me straight, but with some pretty word embellishments.

limpy99 said...

A poem should RHYME!!!

Actually, it doesn't have to; I just felt like throwing that in there.

The Moy said...

A lovely poem, and one that captures why I've never been able to write good poetry.

Also why I refuse to read poems with titles like "Symphony in Purple 36b."

goddess of clarity said...

I have a vivid memory of the first time I read Shakepeare in school. Sixth grade. Romeo and Juliet. Ms. Dorvall's class. Ms. Dorvall taught Shakespeare as one might teach a foreign language class for business travellers, with every line translated into "English."

"But soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!"

"Who is that up at the window?
It's Juliet, and she is really pretty."

And of course some wiseacre would always remark: "Well, if that's what he *means* why doesn't he just *say* that?!"

And another little piece of me would die slowly inside. I could have used MacLeish's last couplet back then.

Lady K said...

Absolutely perfect. Have I ever told you how amazing you are? ;-)

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Hi all!
I am so pleased you all stopped by and commented. I was feeling bad that I didn't have anything new to post (I'm doing a lot right now, and while it's energizing, it also leaves me exhausted at the end of the day... in a good way), and then I thought I'd cash in one of my poetry chips.:)

Lone Star Ma said...

Yeah. Poems shouls be like that.