Sunday, February 08, 2009

Love is things that have been said many times (Sunday's Poem Number 5)

It was raining in Delft

by Peter Gizzi

A cornerstone. Marble pilings. Curbstones and brick.
I saw rooftops. The sun after a rain shower.
Liz, there are children in clumsy jackets. Cobblestones
and the sun now in a curbside pool.
I will call in an hour where you are sleeping. I’ve been walking
for 7 hrs on yr name day.
Dead, I am calling you now.
There are colonnades. Yellow wrappers in the square.
Just what you’d suspect: a market with flowers and matrons,
Beauty walks this world. It ages everything.
I am far and I am an animal and I am just another I-am poem,
a we-see poem, a they-love poem.
The green. All the different windows.
There is so much stone here. And grass. So beautiful each
translucent electric blade.
And the noise. Cheers folding into traffic. These things.
Things that have been already said many times:
leaf, zipper, sparrow, lintel, scarf, window shade.


When they teach you poetry in high school, they focus on boring poems, poems that don't speak to anything these days and have no relevance. There is a feeling, perhaps, that something cannot be worth considering unless it is hundreds of years old, but is there any real reason to prefer Emily Dickinson over Peter Gizzi? I think not.

Plus, if schools were to teach Gizzi's poem, they could also mention
The Delft Thunderclap, an explosion of about 40 tons of gunpowder that had been stored in a former convent; when the door was opened the magazine exploded and over a hundred people were killed, with over a thousand wounded. All of which leads to one uneasy thought:

What were those Delft nuns planning?

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