Friday, April 1, 2011

Poetry Friday: Ars Poetica -- Kicking off National Poetry Month

A poem should be palpable and mute   
As a globed fruit,

Dumb
As old medallions to the thumb,

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown—

A poem should be wordless   
As the flight of birds.

                         *               

A poem should be motionless in time   
As the moon climbs,

Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,   
Memory by memory the mind—

A poem should be motionless in time   
As the moon climbs.

                         *               

A poem should be equal to:
Not true.

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf.

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea—

A poem should not mean   
But be. 
                       -- Archibald MacLeish


The Kick-Off is being held over at The Poem Farm. Let's party like it's April 2011!!!


6 comments:

Andy said...

"A poem should not mean
But be."

Love it, Janet.

Amy LV said...

"Silent as the sleeve-worn stone"

Yes. What a way to begin the month - thank you! A.

Diane Mayr said...

Great choice, Janet!

Doraine Bennett said...

I love this poem. I have an old poetry textbook I picked up at a used bookstore once, called HOW DOES A POEM MEAN by John Ciardi. Pub date is 1959. MacLeish's poem was written in 1925. And we're still loving it. That's what poetry is all about isn't it?

Julie Larios said...

"For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf."

I offer up these lines to all my students - indirection being one of poetry's great joys, but a hard thing to learn.

Thanks for the post!

Karin Huxman - Romance Author said...

Marvelous poe. Thanks for posting it.