One heck of a fine time
May 8, 2007
Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. A poetry show, with poets and their poems and how could that not be one heck of a fine time? Let me tell you, that Billy Collins is something else. It's not his voice so much, or his words, but the two of 'em together. I recall a poem he wrote called "The Lanyard." I still don't know what a lanyard is, but I know that he made one for his mother when he was a boy, and felt it wasn't enough to repay all she'd done for him, and that whole notion and the softness in his voice as he read it brought tears to my eyes.
That's the thing about poetry. It's often a big old mystery, but once in a while you hit on a line or a stanza that says perfectly what you've believed all your life. You don't necessarily remember the whole poem, or even who wrote it. It's just that one string of words, like "There is pleasure in the pathless woods" and "Because I could not stop for Death / He kindly stopped for me" and "O Captain, My Captain" and "... nothing can bring back the hour / Of splendor in the grass and glory in the flower" and "Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, /(I am large, I contain multitudes.)" That last one is a Walt Whitman I've used on the kids now and then. Oh, and the ones Mr. Sundberg copied onto Valentine's Day cards -- "Come live with me and be my love" and "Let not the marriage of true minds admit impediments." Oh, I could go on all day.
Now, Mr. Sundberg is not a big fan of poetry. He gets frustrated when he doesn't "get" a poem and prefers quoting puppets and rock stars. "It's like Kermit the Frog always said, 'It's not easy being green'," or, after spending an afternoon trying to cut through all the buckthorn out behind the house, "I'm with Mick Jagger. Can't get no satisfaction. But I try. And I try and I try and I try," and then he falls asleep on the couch with the newspaper making a little tent over his head.
Someone wrote that poetry is the best words in the best order. That makes sense to me, but I can't help but believe that, at any given time, if you're human, you've got a poem in you. Today my poem would be about sunlight, and how the sun came busting up through the pink and blue and gold sky and how the yellow and red tulips are reaching for it this very moment and how it feels to take an afternoon nap in the sunbeams on the living room floor. Seems the big difference between poets and ordinary people like me is that the poets take the time to write it all down and give it a bit more attention. And that's just fine by me. Mother's Day is coming, and I've got things to do.
"I'm Spicy!" Salsa Dip
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 jar of your favorite salsa (homemade is good)
Mix above three ingredients and chill in a festive bowl. Serve with tortilla chips and sour cream.
Lovely as an appetizer for a Mexican feast or a last-minute snack to bring along to the party.