Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sunday Sabbath Poetry: Li-Young Lee

I am oddly moved, when reading poems written so powerfully and so movingly it is clear the author was born to do just this thing, to write bad poems about how bad my poems are. This last week, I was compelled to return to that goofy neurotic practice almost overwhelmingly, when, by recommendation, I spent a night at a local coffeehouse reading through the poetry of both Andrew Hudgins and Li-Young Lee. Lee's especially were extraordinarily affecting. He may start to show up as a return guest here on Sundays; it was difficult choosing only one poem from a single small collection of his work!

My own poem afterward is, for your benefit, not dedicated to my own lack of poetic skill; rather, this is one of my recent wanderings of the mind while sitting in "German for Reading Comprehension" on the eighth floor of Emory's Woodruff Library, looking out over the treetops toward greater Atlanta's tall skyline.

[Update: I have taken down poems I am in the process of submitting for publication. I apologize for the confusion and/or inconvenience!]

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The Well

By Li-Young Lee

As for the lily, who knows
if what we face isn't the laughter

of one who went while the time seemed green
for going, or a voice

one room ahead of our own dreaming, and we die
at the crest of each day's spending

away. As prow and the surrendered foam
go on forgetting, our very looking is the light

feasting on the light. As for hunger,
each must cross to a body as yet unnamed.

Who needs a heart unless it's one we share
with a many-windowed sea? A heart,

and not the dark it moves through, not the waves
it births, but, visited by blood, unoccupied,

is the very wheel installing day, the well
from which paired hands set out, happy
to undress a terrifying and abundant yes.

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