Saturday, March 1, 2008

Poetry reading

I am making my slow way through Jane Kenyon's Collected Poems (Graywolf Press, 2005), bought with the gains from selling a box-load of books to Powell's a couple of weeks ago. And I say slow way because I only seem to be able to read a handful of poems at a time before I reach some emotional crisis point and I have to put down the book. This happens every time I read a good poetry collection. Or, if not good, one with which I really connect. When I was a kid, I could read poetry all day and never have it affect me at all. Either I'm getting softer in my dotage, or I didn't comprehend what I read when I was younger. Maybe it's a combination of the two.

Anyway, for your evening's reading pleasure, here is a poem by Ms. Kenyon:

Cleaning the Closet
This must be the suit you wore
to your father's funeral:
the jacket
dusty, after nine years,
and hanger marks on the shoulders,
sloping like the lines
on a woman's stomach, after
having a baby, or like the down-
turned corners
of your mouth, as you watch me
fumble to put the suit
back where it was.

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