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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Singing the poems of life

“There are still many tribal cultures where poetry and song, there is just one word for them. There are other cultures with literacy where poetry and song are distinguished. But poetry always remembers that it has its origins in music.” – Edward Hirsch

Hirsch, born on this date in 1950, is a multiple-award winning poet described as “elegant in both his writing and reading of poetry,” bringing his own musical sound into the mix.   
Among his many awards are the National Book Critics Circle Award for his collection Wild Gratitude; numerous fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation; and a MacArthur “genius” award.  He is the author of 8 books of poetry and 7 nonfiction books, and has served as editor of at least a dozen other volumes.  For Saturday’s Poem, here is Hirsch’s,

Early Sunday Morning

I used to mock my father and his chums
for getting up early on Sunday morning
and drinking coffee at a local spot
but now I’m one of those chumps.

No one cares about my old humiliations
but they go on dragging through my sleep
like a string of empty tin cans rattling
behind an abandoned car.

It’s like this: just when you think
you have forgotten that red-haired girl
who left you stranded in a parking lot
forty years ago, you wake up

early enough to see her disappearing
around the corner of your dream
on someone else’s motorcycle
roaring onto the highway at sunrise.

And so now I’m sitting in a dimly lit
 full of early morning risers
where the windows are covered with soot
and the coffee is warm and bitter.

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