Poetry and Your Money

So you want a description of poetry. I remember a Japanese lyric about a red maple leaf frozen in ice. It's the remembering makes poetry. The poet is simply a mnemonic mailman.

Myself. I am hopeful. Willfully imprecise in my thinking. I've a mind like an unmade bed. A description of the poet but not of poems.

A poem will turn your pockets inside out. Garnish the wages of attention. Drop pennies in a storm drain. Cauterize future wounds.

You must choose your voice and posture with a poem. Here's the Finnish poet Paavo Haaviko:

“This poem wants to be a description,

And I want poems to have

Only the faintest of tastes.

Myself I see as a creature, hopeful

As the grass.

These lines are almost improbable,

This is a journey through familiar speech

Towards the region that is no place,

This poem has to be sung, standing up,

Or read without voice, alone.”

(Translation, Anselm Hollo)

You see, you can take a journey through familiar speech to the region that is no place. I choose to call it the reverential space where future wounds are cauterized. You may call the poem something else. You can sing or keep silent.

The Finnish poet Jarkko Laine said:

“You've reached a far shore, outside of time,

Your money is useless.”

Poems may hint at death, but they're not the THING because, after all, they're attached to human memory.

Sing or keep silent.

Please, whatever you do, be judicious.