Friday, June 27, 2014

Portrait of a Pig by Jamie Wyeth
 Well, it's not quite Poetry Friday, but I'm going to write this up early (Wednesday) and schedule it to post on Friday. I'm headed down to Eugene, Oregon, for a few days - who knows whether I'll have time to post it later.  My daughter and her husband are going to run there in the Dirty Dash (mud at the home stretch) and my seven-year-old grandson is running in the Piglet Plunge. A muddy time is guaranteed for all, photos are sure to follow. In honor of all things piggy - and hoggish -  I offer up this original poem for your reading pleasure.


It’s true, I grunt. I’m low. I lurk.
I roll in mud. I muck about. 
When dinner comes, no matter what,
I scarf it up and soil my snout
and gulp with such abandon that
my cousin pigsters get left out.
Ferocious Me!  That’s who I am –
I nip the runts and make them shout,
“O, Rotund One! O, Royal Swine!
You are the barnyard’s Master Lout.
We’re curly-tailed and pink and squealy,
but you are the Porcine King, no doubt! “
Quite right! Quite right!  I understand
what being a Hog is all about! 

I think Jamie Wyeth, whose "Portrait of a Pig" heads up this post, painted the swiney guy I was thinking of. Here's a bit of trivia: The real-life subject of this painting ate seventeen tubes of the artist's paint while no one was looking. O, Rotund One!


Friday, June 13, 2014

Poetry Friday: Goodbye to Russell Edson

A young Russell Edson....
It's Poetry Friday, and I'm going to send you over to Poetry Northwest to read an essay (you might call it a mix of memoir and essay) I wrote about the late poet Russell Edson and my first encounter with his work. If you already love Edson's sly, curious prose poems, you'll know why I mourn his passing. If you don't know his work, oh -  run out, find it, read it, let it sink in, try to imitate it, see what he's doing, see if you can do it. You'll have some fun, but it goes deeper than that. As the essay says, I used to think his work was all about whimsy - but no, as I've learned more about life, I see it's not. Click here for the link.

And if you're in the mood for a less autobiographical reflection, you'll want to read Cody Walker's farewell tribute to Edson. Cody exactly captures what it is about the poet that is most exciting and strange - over at The Kenyon Review blog.
...and older.
The Poetry Friday round-up is being hosted this week by Catherine Johnson.  Head over to her blog to see what other people have posted.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Poetry Friday: Worriers, Wood Drakes and Wendell Berry

Wood Drake at the Bronx Zoo

I seem to worry more than I used to. Does it come on stronger - this capacity for worry - as we age? That's counter-intuitive - we should have a more relaxed attitude and a little less to worry about, the older we get, no? Shouldn't the ability to say "I'm sure it will be fine" get easier?

Yesterday my friend Laura sent me this poem by Wendell Berry.  It's a good poem for worriers. I'll save it for a rainy day or - much better - memorize it and say it each night, like a prayer.

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

                                         - Wendell Berry 

Today's Poetry Friday round-up is being hosted at Carol's Corner. Head over there to see what other people have posted.