This week's visit to the world of Next Line, Please was not only a mini anthology of masterful poems, but a tender gaze into the beauty of poetry. Mr. Lehman's write-up of the conversational history of poems and the ways in which poetry leans on, reinvents, and inspires its writers. "Every new poem exists in relationship to the poetry that preceded its existence," says Mr. Lehman.
Due to the high turnout of high quality pieces, this week's post aims to show us a handful of poems, with the rest to be seen next week. Here are a couple:
First by Andrei Codrescu, who created the “ghostly companion” prompt, and, on our doings, promptly decided to join the fray with something we highly suspect to be a shadow of John Ashbery:
Under the grove the tunnel sings to itself waiting for you to say
I’ll do what the raids suggest, Dad, and that other livid window
the door will not have track with or the broom beside it.
But the tide pushes an awful lot of monsters including the meteor
on television with whom there was no intercourse.
And I think that’s my true fate. It had been raining.
It had not been raining. Dog heads on the railing.
As far as the eye will care to go. Far enough is plenty.
No one could begin to clean this particular mess.
There are no maids on Friday. There isn’t even beef.
Lightning lay down zigzags on the procession.
Thunder lay down in the heart. Don’t take it personally.
“My friend, I am the first transistor in this peeling yellow barn.”
“My child, I love any vast electrical disturbance.”
“My people what are you doing before the closed chambers?”
Disturbance! Couldn’t the old men just give it up? By night
it charged over the plains bursting its wineskin on the Midwest.
It drove from Dallas and Oregon. Always wither,
Why not now? The electrical age isn’t over but its ambulances
race with the electrocuted to the offshore oil well
from cloud to cloud with old men’s beards and rages.
The flood in the invulnerable age. Minuscule flag of observer.
Second, from Pamela Joyce, who tells us that her “Covenant” takes its point of departure from Louise Gluck’s “Elms.” Here is “Covenant”:
All night I try to extinguish
sparks from the fire. Adrift in our ark
I fear the parting or pairing of us—
the charred bits and ashes we would
pause to ponder, overlooking
the dry rot at the helm
that’s been your egress, that equates
the foment of coke and oxy
with love. And I have understood
three times that burnt offering—
the singed dove returning to your storm.
Visit the American Scholar's page to be enchanted by the full post, and tune in next week for more great poems and a brand new prompt!