Tuesday, April 11, 2006

National Poetry Month: Part Two

The Launch
Originally uploaded by Cheezit Addict.
Robert Francis' Catch, a poem about poetry (and more), is one of the very first poems (maybe the first, if we leave out "Casey at the Bat") that I encountered before high school that I looked at as anything more than something I had to read for school.

It was (in retrospect) exciting to me that this guy Francis, instead of sitting down and cranking out some dry monograph like "Poetry: Form, Function and Comprehension of the Creative Tendency in the 20th Century", had instead written a poem about poems, about writing poems, about understanding poems.

And that opened a door for me, because before that I kind of remember thinking "Why don't all these poets just say what they mean? Haven't they ever heard of prose?" And then i went "ooohhh! just like i can play baseball, i can play with words as well. Ergo, there's more than one way through the woods on a skinned horse." (okay maybe that wasn't my exact reaction, but you get the picture.)

Nowadays a poem about poetry may not be such a big deal, given that there are now countless songs about music and movies about film and even a show about nothing. And while those self-referential types of expression have probably been around as long as people have been expressing themselves, this was the eye-opener for me.


Two boys uncoached are tossing a poem together,
Overhand, underhand, backhand, sleight of hand, everyhand,
Teasing with attitudes, latitudes, interludes, altitudes,
High, make him fly off the ground for it, low, make him stoop,
Make him scoop it up, make him as-almost-as possible miss it,
Fast, let him sting from it, now, now fool him slowly,
Anything, everything tricky, risky, nonchalant,
Anything under the sun to outwit the prosy,
Over the tree and the long sweet cadence down,
Over his head, make him scramble to pick up the meaning,
And now, like a posy, a pretty one plump in his hands.

Robert Francis


Zippy said...

That is a cool poem. I must commend you on your taste in literature, etc. in your profile 'cause it's a lot like mine.

7-how-7 said...

thanks zippy - great bush joke on your blog...

Drivin' in my car said...

Yeah Baby!