not good enough to eat
NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT
"For years some people said that I was good enough
to eat, " declared in his nostalgia Randall Jarrell.
I never was like that, and I am now so tough
I can't be marinated, even in a barrel.
He once wrote of a poem by John Berryman,
"He can't have written this: I wonder whom he's shielding."
Of Randall, not of Berryman, I am a fan,
not to the latter's public adulation yielding.
He claimed that Oscar Williams' poem had been written
on a typewriter, and written by a typewriter.
I don't possess one, but I used to own a kitten
which would compose upon my keyboard verses lighter
than this one, but more difficult to understand.
Like nearly all my verses, they're unpublished, too,
but I hope both of ours will be when we both land
on all fours as my kitten used to do, and mew.
Michael Dirda in "Freelance" in the TLS,10/1/10, writes:
No one is a better critic, or more fun, than my particular favorite, Randall Jarrell. As a poet, he is most remembered for his fine-line was classic, "The Death of the Bell Turret Gunner, " and for his depictions of childhood ("The Lost World") and middle-aged angst. "For many years/ I was good enough to eat " (Next Day") . He is also notorious for his put-downs: "Nothing can make me believe that Mr. Berryman wrote this himself, and is not shielding someone." "You know [Willa Cather's] Lucy Gayheart only in the way you know yourself, if you were badly forgetful, and not very introspective." Oscar Williams's poems "gave the impression of having been written on a typewriter by a typewriter."
THE DEATH OF THE BALL TURRET GUNNER
From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.
Michael Dirda writes:
Dear Mr. Hepner,
Well, unpublished or not, I like your poem. Thanks for sending it. All best, md
gershon hepner's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.