Sunday, May 8, 2011

Eating Poetry by Mark Strand

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.

The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.

The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.

Their eyeballs roll,
their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.

She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
she screams.

I am a new man.
I snarl at her and bark.
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.
The writer of this poem uses an extended analogy with a person eating poetry and then becoming a dog hungry for poetry. In the library the man literally eats poetry and the writings having "ink running from the corners of his mouth" and the librarian becomes upset. This poem is extended to mean a lot more about poetry. The man is the writer of the poetry eating it up happy as can be. The librarian is a personal critic who reads the poetry and "does not believe what she sees", The other dogs "coming up" are also critics. But critics who post views and are very badly opinionated about the poems. The librarian listens to these critics and listens to her own thoughts of the poetry and is so upset she weeps. I think she is confused on how she actually wants to interpret the poem and how others interpret it as well. I think the writer of the poem or the newly transformed dog finally realizes that he should not write poetry for the critics and try to please them or to lick their hands and convince them that the poem is good, the writer writes not for others but for himself now. He is newly transformed into this state and he is in "joy in the bookish dark".

1 comment:

  1. I love this! I wish this would happen in our library!