Wednesday, January 06, 2010



Mary Jo Salter, “Lullaby for a Daughter”


Someday, when the sands of time

invert, may you find perfect rest

as a newborn nurses from

the hourglass of your breast.




William Matthews, “A Major Work”


Poems are hard to read

Pictures are hard to see

Music is hard to hear

And people are hard to love


But whether from brute need

Or divine energy

At last mind eye and ear

And the great sloth heart may move.



Lorine Niedecker, “Poet’s Work”

    advised me:
            Learn a trade

I learned
    to sit at desk
           and condense

No layoff
    from this





Laura Vivanco said...

"the hourglass of your breast"

It seems to me that the breast would only look like an hourglass if it had the baby's head attached to it. Otherwise it would just look like half an hourglass. And a breast-and-baby combination isn't really "your breast," is it? Also, "perfect rest" is just about the last thing I'd associate with a newborn baby.

"Poems are hard to read" - yes, particularly when someone decides not to use commas in the line "At last mind eye and ear."

Hmm. I must be in a really sarcastic mood.

E. M. Selinger said...

It's "poem snark"! The Smart Bitches should take that up, too.

Actually, I rather like the oddness of the "hourglass" metaphor. She's layered two cliches (an hourglass figure and sand through the hourglass for time) and refreshed them both. The awkwardness or imperfection of the results works for me, emotionally.

As for the lack of commas...well, you're right that he's being mimetic there--again, for me it works, although I think the poem would work just as well w/o the gesture.