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This is a rewritten version of the poem put on the Hartford Courant's website. I tried to cut out every unnecessary word, make it as lean and clean as possible. I have changed alot, but especially stanzas 5 and 6 because I thought they were weak in the original. Hope you like it. I meant every word!
PS The being evil thoughts I wrote about on the 20th are still with me, as they always are, but have receded more or less to the background. Thanks for all your encouraging comments.
HOW TO READ A POEM: BEGINNER'S MANUAL
First, forget everything you have learned,
that poetry is difficult,
that it cannot be appreciated by the likes of you,
with your high school equivalency diploma
and steel-tipped boots,
your blue collar misunderstandings.
Do not assume meanings hidden from you:
the best poems mean what they say and say it.
To read poetry requires only courage
enough to leap from the edge
Treat a poem like dirt,
humus rich and heavy from the garden.
Later on it will become the fat tomatoes
and golden squash piled high upon your kitchen table.
Poetry demands surrender,
language saying what is true
doing holy things to the ordinary.
Read just one poem a day.
Someday a book of poems may open in your hands
like a daffodil offering its cup
to the sun.
When you can name five poets
without including Bob Dylan,
when you exceed your quota
and don't even notice,
close this manual.
You can now read poetry.
Posted by pamwagg at June 27, 2004 01:39 AM
PAMELA SPIRO WAGNER