2.03.2005

Thursday Book Meme...

Yes, two memes in one day... So shoot me. This one comes from the girl who does the book meme, Jen and Heith.

1. What is your opinion of poetry? Do you love it, hate it, can't live without it, or wish all poets would be stranded on a desert isle?

What if I'm a middle-of-the-roader? I wouldn't die without it but I wouldn't put the poets out on an iceberg, either.


2. What is your favorite poem? Copy and paste it here in your answer (and yes, if your favorite poem happens to be a dirty limerick, so be it- share away).

My favorite poem is "Lemon Pie" by Bill Holm. I think I've posted it before, but I'd be happy to do it again.

For your last Thanksgiving in Minneota I invited half the universe,
Holm's single-handed feed-the-hungry, stuff-the-lonesome-stranger
with turkey and giblets and pie. Already death had winked at you
once or twice from behind its shadowy curtain.

My neighbors pitched in with gravy, bread, and labor. Thursday morning
Tom brought lemon pies, steaming, acid-sweet smell,
majestic meringues, soaring peaks of beaten egg white.
On the table cooling, you smelled them, found a fork,
and, a mischievous sweet-toothed boy, were set to violate a hot meringue,
when I walked in and said, sharp of voice, "Get the hell out of there!
Those hot pies will be ruined if you dig into them."

"So what?" You shot me an insulted look. "They're only pies.
Eat them yourself." You skulked out into the morning. Toward night
your snit evaporated, and you resumed your usual grace and humor.
By then I'd grown my guilty conscience, remembering
that you lived under sentence of impending death.

I should have kept my mouth shut, one nagging inner voice
said to another, watched you put an entire hot lemon pie
into your gullet. What a hard business being human -
all we know and remember shadows every simple act.

The next Thanksgiving you lay close to death, all food
loathsome, indigestible. Kept half alive with cans
of glutinous Ensure, we made a lemon pie to tempt you
into one more small pleasure, but you impaled
the pie with a fork, left it standing upright in the meringue,
and turned away, lost to all joy.

We are who we are until we aren't anything anymore but air.
I carry that steaming pie to my own grave, offering it to you
over and over again, atonement. I hear your wry voice
saying, as it said so often:
"Eat dessert first; life is short and uncertain."

Bill Holm
From Playing the Black Piano: Poems 2004

3. Do you have a favorite poet or a favorite collection of poetry? Along the same vein, is there a particular poet that you don't really care for? Why?

Yes, this particular collection of Bill Holm's poetry happens to be my favorite collection. We have several books at the house from ee cummings (Keith's favorite, I believe) and many others to fill one little section of our library. But this is my favorite. There isn't anything or any poet whose work I find loathesome.


4. Do you consider songs to be a form of poetry? Why or why not?

Yes, I do consider songs to be a form of poetry going back to the very earliest music historically.


5. Do you write poetry? If so: 1) would you consider posting one of your poems with your answer so we may all read it; and 2) what inspires you to write your poetry?

I write little rhyming verses for special occasions for the family. I wrote one last year a year after my grandmother's passing and I wrote one after Danny's death and for my parents' anniversary, my dad's heart attack, etc. I've posted all of them at some point, I think. The inspiration are big life-altering events that stop me in my tracks, I guess.

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