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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Don't forget to touch the walls

“The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. The most you can do is live inside that hope, running down its hallways, touching the walls on both sides. — Barbara Kingsolver from Animal Dreams

Yesterday I wrote a few words about Kingsolver’s prose on the date of her birth.  She also is more than deserving of a few words about her
poetry.  Her 2015 book              of poetry, Another America, has been widely praised.  “… her poems present a vision of an underprivileged America redressed, and are, in that respect, songs of hope and longing as opposed to howls of protest and despair,” noted a review in Foreward Magazine.   Booklist called it, “The best of American political poetry, melding emotion and analysis, daily life and national issues, voice and heart.”

As for why to write poetry, she said, “In my opinion when you find yourself laughing and crying both at once, that is the time to write a poem. Probably, it's the only honest living there is.”  For Saturday’s Poem from her book Another America, here is,

There are days when I am envious of my hens:
when I hunger for a purpose as perfect and sure
as a single daily egg.

If I could only stand in the sun,
scratch the gravel and blink and wait
for the elements within me to assemble,
asking only grain I would
surrender myself to the miracle
of everyday incarnation: a day of my soul
captured in yolk and shell.

And I would have no need
for the visions that come to others
on bat’s wings, to carry them
face to face with nothingness.
The howl of the coyote in the night
would not raise my feathers, for I,
drowsy on my roost, would dream
of the replicated fruits of my life
nested safe in cartons.

And yet I am never seduced,
for I have seen what a hen knows of omnipotence:
nothing of the miracles in twelves,
only of the hand that feeds
and, daily, robs the nest.

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