Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Poem of the Day - April 8th

How to Read a Poem: Beginner's Manual
by Pamela Spiro Wagner

First, forget everything you have learned,
that poetry is difficult,
that it cannot be appreciated by the likes of you,
with your high school equivalency diploma,
your steel-tipped boots,
or your white-collar misunderstandings.

Do not assume meanings hidden from you:
the best poems mean what they say and say it.
To read poetry requires only courage
enough to leap from the edge
and trust.
Treat a poem like dirt,
humus rich and heavy from the garden.
Later it will become the fat tomatoes
and golden squash
piled high upon your kitchen table.
Poetry demands surrender,
language saying what is true,
doing holy things to the ordinary.
Read just one poem a day.
Someday a book of poems may open in your hands
like a daffodil offering its cup to the sun.

When you can name five poets without including Bob Dylan,
when you exceed your quota and don't even notice,
close this manual.


Stephanie said...

Ooh! I like this poem if only because it tells me I don't have to go hunting for hidden meanings. What a relief.

The Bradfords said...

This is my favorite one so far. I love poetry. When I was little I used to memorize poems by Kipling, Longfellow, Burns. Looking back on it I was probably a little weird. Of course I'm not weird anymore.

Lula O said...

This is a really good one. Treat a poem like dirt? Excellent.