Monday, May 19, 2008

Ode to Concrete or why poetry doesn't always have to be about nature

This past weekend, I was in Seattle and attended part of the Skagit River Poetry Festival. It was my great good fortune to be at the festival with old friends (*waves at* M, Steve, and E) and new (*shout out to* Carla, Larry and Peter!). We laughed and hugged, talked poetry and every thing else under the sun. (One memorable conversation moved from transvestites to hymns sung by Mennonites in 8 part harmony. Honest.)

At the festival, I got to watch steam curl out of M's ears when one of the presenters said she felt sorry for people who had to live with concrete beneath their feet. The consensus seemed to be (amongst some of the poets at this festival) that nature=good, manmade=evil. Well, I think 20 acres in the wilderness of Montana is as close to heaven as you can get, BUT I'm also a city girl. There is beauty in the constructed.

This poem is for dear M. As promised, my ode to concrete.

Ode to Concrete
(apologies to Wordsworth)

O petrified stone! O perfect
recipe lost in ancient Rome!

Potholes pebble the steamrolled
surface of your skin and we
who step or run along your roads
pay only this toll: one rock
embedded in a shuffled shoe, a tire
pierced out of round to risk
a journey's end. But O, concrete!
You spread your gossip through the white tongue
of highway, byway, freeway, street,
a gospel to centuries of wanderlust,
an antidote to hedgerows, roses,
waves of grain, and hosts
of golden daffodils.

--ljcohen, may 2008

1 comment:

  1. i am sooooo not into nature poetry,, unless it is an analogy to something more meaningful... i am so glad you used that title... as sometimes i get so worn out reading nature poem after nature poem,,, and trying to be objective.....