Hey poets and poetry lovers! Hope Day 4 of NaPoWriMo has gone well for you all. I’m sharing work by two different poets this evening and hope you enjoy my selections.
First of all, I am sharing a poem by Russell Edson, who was an American poet, novelist, writer and illustrator who sadly passed away in 2014. He has been called the “godfather of the prose poem in America” and his “work is populated with strange and intriguing figures” (Poetry Foundation online).
I was first introduced to Edson’s work whilst studying my degree and have to admit I fell in love with his peculiar style and content which can bamboozle the reader yet also tell a very human tale.
‘Clouds’ by Russell Edson
A husband and wife climbed to the roof of their house, and each at the
extremes of the ridge stood facing the other the while that the clouds
took to form and reform.
The husband said, shall we do backward dives, and into windows float-
ing come kissing in a central room?
I am standing on the bottom of an overturned boat, said the wife.
The husband said, shall I somersault along the ridge of the roof and up
your legs and through your dress out of the neck of your dress to kiss
I am a roof statue on a temple in an archaeologist’s dream, said the
The husband said, let us go down now and do what it is to make
another come into the world.
Look, said the wife, the eternal clouds.
(From The Tunnel: Selected Poems (1994), The Very Thing That Happens Pg 15 published by Oberlin College Press)
The second poet I am sharing is Edwin Morgan, who was Scotland’s first modern Makar, and one of our “country’s most inventive and curious poets” (Scotland: Selected Poem 2020). Morgan sadly passed away in 2010. I am sharing two poems from The Edwin Morgan Twenties boxset which contains five themed booklets of selected works to celebrate the poet with introductions from the likes of Jackie Kay, Liz Lochhead, Ali Smith and Michael Rosen.
One poem is from Scotland and the second is from Take Heart. I hope you enjoy them.
‘Rockall Invernessshire June 1972’ by Edwin Morgan
A megagrampus in granite,
a snout surfacing for air and frozen for ever
in the blasts of the Atlantic,
the rock gets a ring in its muzzle,
it is man’s.
But only just: for in this picture
a midnight gale too wild for work
even in the simmer-dim
has triggered off an eerie blink
from the unfinished beacon on the summit
and warns men before
men warn men.
(From Scotland: Selected Poems (2020) Pg 24 published by Polygon, an imprint of Birlinn Ltd, in association with Carcanet Press Ltd)
‘Blind’ by Edwin Morgan
Almost unconscionably sweet
Is that voice in the city street.
Her fingers skim the leaves of braille,
She sings as if she could not fail
To activate each sullen mind
And make the country of the blind
Unroll among the traffic fumes
With its white stick and lonely rooms.
Even if she had had no words,
Unsentimental as a bird’s
Her song would rise in spirals through
The dust and gloom to make it true
That when we see such fortitude,
Though she cannot, the day is good.
(From Take Heart: Selected Poems (2020) Pg 3 published by Polygon, an imprint of Birlinn Ltd, in association with Carcanet Press Ltd)
~The H Word~