Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Poets Among Us (The Original Version)

Some dear poet friends felt my poem ran too long. So here is the original version. Feel free to look at the two and tell me which you prefer. cheers. Indran

            Poets Among Us

There are poets who take you for a ride,
from which you will not come back alive,

who dazzle with incense and myrrh,
who think sound trumps all sense

or reports of explosions beyond
the garden fence. There are poets

who write lines and pauses
keeping time to a metronome,

who are esteemed versifiers,
gathering in clubs to compose haikus,

or falling in love with the ghazal
and renga, those elegant Oriental pursuits.

There are poets who will be rewarded
by politicians, talk show hosts and

Rotary, Lions or the Theosophists.
Happened in America once,

a poet read, his hair flaying white,
at the inauguration of a president.

Started a trend and a decade.  Poetry
is not far removed from the state

of the nation. Its words make
metaphors, are crafted in stanzas

and books. Poets are self-ordained
but depend on kind strangers

and friends to break bread
at their mass, stopping on pages

to read before heading out
into night or day, to work or play,

to announce, we have rhymes
to share with you, chocolates

for all, a few barbed we admit
with nails, to jolt the conscience,

not send us to the grave. Will you
listen, please, take off your shoes?

            Indran Amirthanayagam, July 30, 2012

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