Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Poetry Thursday: Knowing Things

My poem is not on topic for this week's Poetry Thursday. This was inspired today after a conversation I had at school. Perhaps a bit more narrative than poem but here's what I have for today.

Knowing Things

Brooke looked up from
The The Popcorn Book today
to ask if she could
write a letter to the president.

She had a question about popcorn.

Do you think the president
is the best person to ask
about popcorn? I asked.

Well he’s the president.
He should know things.

I couldn’t argue with that.

I wanted this spring hope
of writing a letter to the people
most-in-charge
because they had sat
around a table, drinking
strong coffee and figuring
out the world--
global warming
education
peace
popcorn.

I’d write letters
with questions
and watch the mail
like an old-timey sailor
counting the days
to shore.

But it is only us
with our fathoms
of unknowing
anchoring us to
this mantle of earth
trying to peer
over the side
of the world.

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17 Comments:

Anonymous Brian said...

I love how your poems always have the freshness of youth, balanced with the resignation of having seen it all.

8:49 AM  
Blogger Regina Clare Jane said...

Ah, the things children think and say...
Your poem really gets down to it in the last stanza, Emily- we keep peering, don't we- and that what's keeps us going in the long run.
Just wonderful...

2:33 PM  
Blogger Colorful Prose said...

I love the balance between blind faith and tainted scepticism. Having to work with politicians in my job, I tend toward the latter.

4:32 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

This is a great poem. Heartbreaking and sweet and funny at the same time. I would love to see the presidential response to a popcorn question.

4:37 PM  
Blogger Norma said...

I think our President would answer, and Laura, First Librarian, would be popping with pride that it was inspired by a book.

Great job.

My PT is up.

6:52 PM  
Blogger wendy said...

Children question, than we question in kind, and find, against the odds, that we still believe in many of the same things.

Well done.

7:48 PM  
Blogger SLP said...

"Well he’s the president.
He should know things."

Wouldn't you hope so...

I really like this piece -- the bald truth of it -- how children's minds work, and how it can be funny and profound at once.

And I feel/share the ache for someone with answers -- to be able to believe that anyone anywhere knows what they are doing...

I love the last stanza -- almost so much that I feel it deserves a spotlight-place in its own, or in another poem -- it's meaning, its existential "anchoring," is spot on for this piece, but the language is elevated to something a bit beyond the rest. It's truly resonant.

8:43 PM  
Blogger Clockworkchris said...

The last stanza just amazed me. You are a wonderful writer. The popcorn question was such a good twist and asking the president added a little political humor in my opinion.

8:45 PM  
Blogger gautami tripathy said...

I would call it a very good narrative poem. Makes us ponder.


gautami
Parallel Streams

12:28 AM  
Blogger Crafty Green Poet said...

I like how you combine the serious political comment with the every day of the school, plus of course there's the uncoscious wisdom of the child and that last staza is wonderful.

6:36 AM  
Blogger ...deb said...

I quite liked this poem and am glad you wrote it instead of responding to the PT prompt. Not to say it wasn't an interesting prompt, it's just that I think this poem has a great spark to it.

Especially "But it is only us". (I may be putting my own voice here in the reading. Suits my own melancholy frame of mind about politics. )

Popcorn and presidents. Lovely.
And glad to hear a child thinks this way.

3:59 PM  
Anonymous poet with a day job said...

OMG - I love this poem! I know that popcorn book and man oh man - this is a nice poem. I don't think it is more narrative than poem at all, either. It's great.

5:10 PM  
Blogger Hel said...

The last stanza blew me away.

A perfect ending to a powerful poem

2:28 PM  
Blogger jen said...

i might argue with that, but perhaps popcorn is an easy enough subject...

nicely done, as always.

1:22 AM  
Anonymous Hel said...

I came back for a seventh read and it gets better each time

7:11 AM  
Blogger Deezee said...

"Well he’s the president.
He should know things."


yes, he should, but I wouldn't even trust him with popcorm...

loved this.

4:20 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

i love the popcorn book.
and i love, even more, that brooke thought to write a letter to the president...hee. to be in her mind...that would be the buttery goodness part.

it makes my heart happy knowing that you are taking care of "my girls"...and that you love them as much as i do.

sigh.

have i mentioned how much i miss them?

4:41 PM  

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