(picture of Orpheus and Eurydice from flickr creative commons by cerdsp )
ANTIQUE – by Robert Pinsky
I drowned in the fire of having you, I burned
In the river of not having you, we lived
Together for hours in a house of thousand rooms
And we were parted for a thousand years.
Ten minutes ago we raised our children who cover
The earth and have forgotten that we existed
It was not maya, it was not a ladder to perfection,
It was this cold sunlight falling on this warm earth.
When I turned you went to Hell. When your ship
Fled the battle I followed you and lost the world
Without regret but with stormy recriminations.
Someday far down that corridor of horror the future
Someone who buys this picture of you for the frame
At a stall in a dwindled city will study your face
And decide to harbor it for a little while longer
From the waters of anonymity, the acids of breath.
Last night my friend Martha (head on over to her Poetry Friday post to read more about the event) and I attended a Favorite Poem gathering with Robert Pinsky at our local Middle School. I usually don’t get to these things given the kids’ activities schedule, homework, dinner, hubby working late, but yesterday the stars aligned. And it was a memorable experience.
Mr. Pinsky was warm, accessible, and inspiring in his love for poetry. He talked about the Favorite Poem project and showed us video clips of ordinary people reading their favorite poems; a 12 year old girl, a construction worker, a Jamaican-American artist. Some Natick residents read their favorites poems and told us what that particular poem meant to them. And then Mr. Pinsky read some of his poems!!
My favorite was Antique, which is my pick for Poetry Friday this week. I love the opposites in the imagery, I drowned in the fire, I burned in the river, the cold sunlight, the warm earth. It is beautiful. According to Mr. Pinsky a poem is something that sounds terrific when you say it out loud. I don’t know all the references he makes here, except maya, and Orpheus turning, but it just sounds fantastic read aloud!
The round up today is at the Wild Rose Reader.