Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What good would it be to them?


Why Some People Do Not Read Poetry

Because they already know that it means
stopping and without stopping they know that
beyond stopping it will mean listening
listening without hearing and maybe
then hearing without hearing and what would
they hear then what good would it be to them
like some small animal crossing the road
suddenly there but not seeming to move
at night and they are late and may be on
the wrong road over the mountain with all
the others asleep and not hitting it
that time as though forgetting it again

--W.S. Merwin

8 comments:

Rev. Brian R. Dixon said...

Whoah! This sheds some light on Matthew 13:10-17/Isaiah 6:9, 10 for me... "And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes, lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART, and convert, and be healed." Emphasis mine. Thanks for sharing!

Derek said...

I posted on this poem around the time I first read it - it is a good one. And I like the comment above a lot.

jdaviddark said...

Derek, it's the funniest thing. I read it in the New York Review of Books, googled it, and it had only shown up online in seven places, one being your ever-loving blog. I'm grateful to find myself in sync with your sensibilities. Hi-5.
And Rev. Brian, thanks for making the connection(s).

Annabanana said...

That wordrhythm sounds like a frightened bunny darting.

I have to be careful when I consider that question, "What good would it be to them?" I end up telling myself I'm better, with poetry as material witness. And that's no good.

Rev. Brian has a great parallel, and even as I see it & say "amen," I hear some part of me think, "yeah, I have eyes to see and ears to hear-that's me!" as if I've made the cut.

Does anyone else have those two voices in the head? Ugh!

jdaviddark said...

That's a very good word, Annabanana.
"As if I've made the cut" corrective received.
The "them" has to have a "me" quality too. Must come self-administered. What good do I allow myself to discern? What good somehow insinuates itself anyway?
I contend with those myriad voices myself.
No nobodies.

shirley said...

i too am legion :)

Annabanana said...

No "corrective" intended, except to get my own boogeyman out from under the bed! But if it was a helpful thing, well, ok.

The words + poem reminded me of my decades-long murderous campaign to be the smartest person in the room (room=world), and I had to call it out before I was a swine to the pearls being proffered. Definitely (attempted) self-administered "me" to the "them."

Glad to know others have the voices-I think that might be where art gets dangerous, by the way-when we can't keep pace with our voices and art stirs them to push a little more & then we have to go & make someone shut up-even if it's our redemption talking under all that.

Doesn't the Misfit say something along the lines of that-the old lady would have been alright if she'd had someone kill her every day?

Segue said...

David: Enjoyed listening to your presentation at Emergent earlier this month and really enjoyed your book, "The Sacredness of Questioning Everything". I am looking at poetry differently.