English Class and Beyond
Women drift by, invisible under water.
Some float on the surface, seeming distant
from view, dissolving,
death closer than they think,
wondering how Sylvia did it.
Students fidget with phones
no longer concealed in pockets.
Can one rise from the dead?
Outlines on the shroud of Turin
seem to enforce the belief, but miss the point.
Who needs saving anyway? Truth
from the mouths of babes doesn’t help.
Naming all the fish in the sea won’t bring them back.
Some, undaunted by dead weight,
flout convention, no hesitation
while even dogs are trained to hold their tongues
without command to speak.
Doberman Pinschers once only
for policing, learn to sniff out death
sometimes with astonishing effect
working for minimal tasty rewards
persevering for payment of soft words.
Eternal absence stretches over
the pre-winter sky, shadowing
chemical death and chemical resurrection
Unfazed by law and medicine, two men
fear little in their house with their cats
and detritus. Sudden awakening!
Not dead yet, much closer to here than you think.
Not hearing the elegiac boasting
or trying to understand the voice.
the role of law is now to nourish
try to turn rampage to stillness.
Better living through chemistry.
Two men had too much, buckeyes
unconscious among green hills
of cannibal tendencies in Plath.
Young people want to know why.
[After Andrew Grace: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/04/23/not-a-mile ]
The prompt today is a fun one, which I applied to the poem linked above. The result is an interesting draft, I think.
First, find a poem in a book or magazine (ideally one you are not familiar with). Use a piece of paper to cover over everything but the last line. Now write a line of your own that completes the thought of that single line you can see, or otherwise responds to it. Now move your piece of paper up to uncover the second-to-last line of your source poem, and write the second line of your new poem to complete/respond to this second-to-last line. Keep going, uncovering and writing, until you get to the first line of your source poem, which you will complete/respond to as the last line of your new poem. It might not be a finished draft, but hopefully it at least contains the seeds of one.