Friday, February 24, 2006

Three from "180 More"

Mrs. Darwin

7 April 1852

Went to the Zoo.
I Said to Him-
Something about that Chimpanzee over there
reminds me of you.

Carol Ann Duffy


An Apology

Forgive me
for backing over
and smashing
your red wheelbarrow.

It was raining
and the rear wiper
does not work on
my new plum-colored SUV.

I am also sorry
about the white
chickens.

F.J. Bergmann

Knowledge

My philosopher friend is explaining again
that the bottle of well-chilled beer in my hand

might not be a bottle of beer,
that the trickle of bottle-sweat cooling in my palm

might not be wet, might not be cool,
that in fact it’s impossible ever to know

if I’m holding a bottle at all.
I try to follow his logic, flipping the steaks

that are almost certainly hissing
over the bed of coals – coals I’d swear

were black at first, then gray, then red –
coals we could spread out and walk on

and why not, I ask, since we’ll never be sure
if our feet burn, if our soles

blister and peel, if our faithlessness
is any better or worse a tool

than the firewalker’s can-do extreme.
Exactly, he smiles. Behind the fence

the moon rises, or seems to.
Have another. Whatever else is true,

the coals feel hotter than ever
as the darkness begins to do

what darkness does. Another what? I ask.


Philip Memmer



All of these are from the volume 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Everyday Life selected by Billy Collins for his project of having a poem a day read with the morning announcements in schools. While some of those included I don't think would pass many a board of ed. scrutiny due to their overt sexuality and ribaldness that would cause some parents to revolt there are some excellent and amusing ones. The online archive of poems is available at link below. Many of the poems in second book are not included on the website although some are.


http://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/p180-list.html

3 comments:

scruffylooking said...

We had that "appropriateness" problem when Coady had to put together a poetry book in 7th grade. Any of the interesting poets used sex or drug references. She ended up with some Neruda, Derek Walcott and then a lot of classic rock song lyrics. Who knew that Jimi Hendrix would be tamer than the literature of that period?

Dexter said...

I enjoy Walcott. So envious of the Dublin crowd that went to St. Lucia back in Jan as I would have like to see the island that he has written much about.

scruffylooking said...

He read here in 87 I think and I hadn't read much of his stuff before that. After hearing him read that night, I would easily buy his grocery lists.