Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Why is poetry an emergency?

10 April 2013

prose is a house
poetry a man in flames running quite fast through it

Anne Carson, Red Doc>

Why is poetry an emergency?
Why are some poems impossibly slow?

Imagine you are looking out to sea.
Every day for a year.

Some days the water rages. Other days
it chatters. Scatters. Freezes. Whispers.

Rarely is it silent. One vast silver mirror
dumping back a blanked-out sky.

Try a morning when the dog barks you up:
hungry geese are on the lawn.

Unmoored ice shards and founders, 
every grassblade dead and yellow.

How long must we
wait for the season to shift?

Slow spring, the kid 
at the filling station says. While gas guzzles 

snow gathers on the windscreen. 
You speed off, late for dinner.

Why is poetry an emergency?
Our hearts knock 

against a stubborn world. Inside,  
forever, the house is on fire.  

Pictures were taken on the West Quoddy dock. 
Nets and buoys are for fishing herring.  Commercial vessels and pleasure craft in Canada longer than 12 meters are required to carry two or more fire buckets.


  1. "against a stubborn world. Inside,
    forever, the house is on fire. " -Karin Cope

    Yes! -Danica

    "the apples are on fire
    in their usual way" -Lorna Crozier "Angel of Infinity" (this is from memory so may not be an exact quotation but it's pretty close).

  2. Ah, thank you D! I like that line--the apples are on fire/in their usual way. Might have to use that. xox