Thursday, July 31, 2008

Strange and Unimaginable Ways

Strange how life works. With each poem I read, lines and fragments cling to me, following me as I go. I walk down the street and there is Rossetti whispering, I wish I could remember. Wordsworth follows me on melancholy days his voice faintly saying, in vacant or in pensive mood. And today I hear Meinke sighing, and young men lose their lives in strange and unimaginable ways. Why? I don't know. Poetry entangles itself into your life, words read twisting around words spoken and weaving through thoughts. So today, I nod my head to Meinke.

Advice to My Son by Peter Meinke

The trick is, to live your days
as if each one may be your last
(for they go fast, and young men lose their lives
in strange and unimaginable ways)
but at the same time, plan long range
(for they go slow: if you survive
the shattered windshield and the bursting shell
you will arrive
at our approximation here below
of heaven or hell).

To be specific, between the peony and the rose
plant squash and spinach, turnips and tomatoes;
beauty is nectar
and nectar, in a desert, saves--
but the stomach craves stronger sustenance
than the honied vine.
Therefore, marry a pretty girl
after seeing her mother;
peak truth to one man,
work with another;
and always serve bread with your wine.

But, son,
always serve wine.

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