Why Read Poems?

Rating: 3.3

Every poem
begins with a single
word, and usually
one I know. So far,
so good. Ready

to proceed. The next word
may shoot straight to a verb —
I smile, to know already who is doing what —
or it may go up a winding
road of phrases leading to
a tangled growth of clauses,

verb buried somewhere there,
unless it's a ghost, merely looking
down upon the poem.

Half my happiness
is knowing where I am.
Reading, I slowly build
a structure in my mind,

though sometimes the last stanza
of a perfect poem-house
turns out to be — a can-opener, the square
root of two, a law of thermodynamics,
anything but the closure I'd awaited,
and cold winds still
blow through the finished poem.

I try to bore through
blizzards of poems
like the railroad's
snow-blower car.

I like a sense of humor in a poem
even when not getting the joke,
for then I feel I've entered
something porous, loose, unlike

the long, surrealistic treatises
that wail like the siren
of an ambulance
heading to Bellevue,

or the strait-jacketed,
solemn pronouncements
of academic poems.

Why do I go on reading?
Because life on the street
doesn't often look at me
and speak my name, or smile.

What else is there,
but to go on poring through
anthologies of poems,
anthologies of sunbeams
anthologies of leaves of trees,
to find something speaking back
from the heart of
the mystery we are.

READ THIS POEM IN OTHER LANGUAGES
COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Val Morehouse 07 November 2009

How interesting. And how true. Try my poems: Poem, and Why Poems should be read aloud. Then let's talk. Val

0 0 Reply
Alison Cassidy 10 April 2007

I saw your name and my heart lit up. I read your poem and I found myself nodding in recognition. When two souls unite, then the magic happens. Your poetry does that to me. love, Allie xxxxxxxxxx

0 0 Reply
Nimal Dunuhinga 09 April 2007

Praiseworthy Max, in this boredom what else you have to read?

0 0 Reply
Otteri Selvakumar 09 April 2007

A great poem... my great poet MAX REIF

0 0 Reply