Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Poetry Project

When I was in college, Robert Pinsky (the U.S. Poet Laureate at the time), came to campus and gave a speech about poetry in modern society. I remember being terribly impressed with him, and even more inspired by him, so much so that I bought a copy of what was then his latest book of poems, The Figured Wheel, and had him sign it. I'm sure I said something idiotic when I finally got to the front of the line, but oh well. That's me, I suppose. Tongue-tied by a poet!

Here's one of my favorites from that book.


While I lay sleeping my heart awoke.
I heard and saw but I couldn't stir.
He walked out like a man and spoke.
Though it was late
A crowd of people were awake
Strolling and talking in the street.
They greeted him and called him Coeur.
Then he was driving in a car.

He started down familiar roads.
I know the city, he was there.
But Coeur found hidden neighborhoods.
At an iron gate
That led to steps between facades
I watched him park and climb on foot
The passage to an open square
With shuttered houses and a bar,

A bright cafe where I could see
Coeur chatting with the local crowd -
Voluble heart, attentive, free,
At home, at night.
Once I think he looked back at me
And for a moment saw me wait
(I saw his face, he looked afraid)
Dreaming him from the dark outside.

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