Sunday, November 23, 2008

My poem inspired by Keats' poem

Finding the link for the Keats poem I mentioned in the post below meant reading the Keats poem, to make sure I'd found a good website. That reading, in turn, made me think of an earlier poem I wrote. It's not a Thanksgiving poem, but it's my attempt at an Autumn poem that doesn't use the traditional images.

It's autobiographical--those of you who are old enough to remember will realize that I'm writing about the autumns of 1983, 1984, and 1986.

This poem first appeared in The Powhatan Review Winter 2004-2005.

October Songs

“Where are the songs of spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,“
John Keats, “To Autumn”

I know the first thing I must buy, stocking
up on supplies as I return from the outback
of my college campus, where my radio
only receives country twanging and peppy pop songs.
I buy as many record albums as my arms can hold.

The days darken early. I play U2’s War,
and news filters in from Lebanon, soldiers exploding,
terrorists kidnapping tourists, forces invading Grenada.
I worry about violence, nuclear holocaust, and those five
pounds that seem all too comfortable on my frame.

Later, I must severely budget back to school dollars:
running shoes, an oscillating fan, Bruce Springsteen’s Born
in the USA
. Russell and I train for a marathon
to the beat of this music; I miss Carl
with the keening intensity of a train whistle.

As I prepare graduate school applications and fret
about the GRE, Kevin gives me a Suzanne Vega
tape. I listen to these strange songs
as I, too, pare down my life to simpler
lyrics, a spare poetry of simplicity.


And now, I suppose I can procrastinate by blogging no longer--I must go do a bit more Thanksgiving prep.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh, a poem written back in the olden days -- on paper with pen with tangible rough drafts. No thought of a personal computer, much less something unimaginable like a laptop, that leaves you with no proof (beyond the finished product) that any work has been done.

We at least had electric lights back in the 80s, didn't we?

Happy Thanksgiving!