Saturday, November 7, 2009

They Say About a Poem

They Say About A Poem

Technically a poem ought to have words
in it although a blank page beneath a
title's mighty inviting, a bit like a
snowy meadow after a day filled with
looking at city crowds. They say
about a poem that a poem should show,
not tell, and be, not mean, but others
think a poem should tow, not sell,
and, really, how can a poem that is
not be, and why can't it mean while
it's being? From poems people crave
imagery, they say, they say about
a poem, but actually all
the imagery's in their heads, put there

by literacy's reflexive response to
letters applied to a surface such
as paper or a surface such as plastic
or indeed an ear's membrane. Should
a poem have conflict? Opinions about
that bicker. I know a poem that featured
many quiet rooms where you could go to get
away from all that conflict in plays,
life, novels, factories, politics,
and movies--where you could listen

to a clock chime and watch the weird
butler straighten ancient paintings
on the walls of your personality, but
I guess that, too, is a conflict.

Copyright 2009 Hans Ostrom
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