Monday, December 6, 2010

Three Poems

For reading purposes, this Sunday was designated a poetry day, giving me an opportunity to read some of another Garrison Keillor compilation. One or two times in the past, material for these pages has been gathered from the 2002 Keillor book, Good Poems, and recently I came upon a later collection of poems compiled by Keillor and published in 2005 as Good Poems for Hard Times. This anthology is much like the earlier book and offers another 185 poems that take giant strides toward making poetry accessible to everyone. Keillor’s idea is that poetry should not be a puzzle that the reader is obliged to solve. He says, ‘[Personal] voice and the heat of life can be found in poetry and nowhere else: poetry is about…mowing grass, putting luggage into the car, gratitude for food, the laughter of a little girl…’ These are things familiar to all of us, the common threads that when examined by the poet illuminate our collective experiences.

No commentary, no attempt at analysis or talk of ‘symbolism.’ In fact, there probably isn’t any of that in the following three poems from Good Poems for Hard Times.


A scent of ripeness from over a wall.
And come to leave the routine road
And look for what had made me stall,
There sure enough was an apple tree
That had eased itself of its summer load,
And of all but its trivial foliage free,
Now breathed as light as a lady’s fan.
For there had been an apple fall
As complete as the apple had given man.
The ground was one circle of solid red.

May something go always unharvested!
May much stay out of our stated plan,
Apples or something forgotten and left,
So smelling their sweetness would be no theft.


The plastic statue of the virgin

On top of a bedroom dresser

with a blackened mirror

From a bad-dreaming grooming salon.

Two pebbles from the grave of a rock star,

A small, grinning windup monkey,

A bronze Egyptian coin

And a red movie-ticket stub.

A splotch of sunlight on the framed

Communion photograph of a boy

With the eyes of someone

Who will drown in a lake real soon.

An altar dignifying the god of chance.

What is beautiful, it cautions,

Is found accidentally and not sought after.

What is beautiful is easily lost.


Carnation Milk is the best in the land;

Here I sit with a can in my hand—

No tits to pull, no hay to pitch,

You just punch a hole in the son of a bitch.

1 comment:

  1. Aahh, yes, "Carnation Milk" is wonderful. As good as the Frost poem and probably won some prizes--the Comedy Poem Milk Punch Award for sure.


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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America