Striking Poems

I came across some more brilliant poems in the poetry sections of Literature: A Portable Anthology. 4th Edition, edited by Janet E. Gardner et al. The three poems below spoke to me of our times.

Emily Dickinson’s short poem (written ca. 1862) reminds me of the polarization of our society, where each side deems the other side dangerous or crazy:

Much Madness is divinest Sense –
To a discerning Eye –
Much Sense – the starkest Madness –
‘Tis the Majority
In this, as All, prevail –
Assent – and you are sane –
Demur – you’re straightway dangerous—
And handled with a Chain

And this one by Langston Hughes (written in 1951) seems so relevant for race relations in the US (and elsewhere):

Harlem

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore –
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over –
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

And here’s just the beginning of a poem by William Stafford (written in 1962) about animals killed by traffic. I read this just a day after my last post, where I wrote about this exact topic. Very odd it was, to find this poem just at this time:

Traveling through the Dark

Traveling through the dark I found a deer
dead on the edge of the Wilson River road.
It is usually best to roll them into the canyon:
that road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead.
[…]

Keep safe, world.

2020_12_22

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