There is the view that poetry should improve your life. I think people confuse it with the Salvation Army.
Life is beautiful. He who reads that
As in the window of some distant, speeding train
Knows what he wants, and what will befall.
The sun fades like the spreading
Of a peacock's tail, as though twilight
Might be read as a warning to those desperate
For easy solutions.
Will occur as time grows more open about it.
Then let yourself love all that you take delight in
Accept yourself whole, accept the heritage
That shaped you and is passed on from age to age
Down to your entity. Remain mysterious;
Rather than be pure, accept yourself as numerous.
The soul establishes itself. But how far can it swim out through the eyes And still return safely to its nest?
All beauty, resonance, integrity,
Exist by deprivation or logic
Of strange position.
The ellipse is as aimless as that,
Stretching invisibly into the future so as to reappear
In our present. Its flexing is its account,
Return to the point of no return.
This whole moment is the groin
Of a borborygmic giant who even now
Is rolling over on us in his sleep.
You stupefied me. We waxed,
Carnivores, late and alight
In the beaded winter. All was ominous, luminous.
The gray glaze of the past attacks all know-how....
But always and sometimes questioning the old modes
And the new wondering, the poem, growing up through the floor,
Standing tall in tubers, invading and smashing the ritual
Parlor, demands to be met on its own terms now,
Now that the preliminary negotiations are at last over.
Expecting rain, the profile of a day
Wears its soul like a hat....
Somewhere someone is traveling furiously toward you,
At incredible speed, traveling day and night....
Life is not at all what you might think it to be
A simple tale where each thing has its history
It's much more than its scuffle and anything goes
Both evil and good, subject to the same laws.
To the poet as a basement quilt, but perhaps
To some reader a latticework of regrets ...
The soul is not a soul,
Has no secret, is small, and it fits
Its hollow perfectly: its room, our moment of attention.
We are prisoners of the world's demented sink.
The soft enchantments of our years of innocence
Are harvested by accredited experience
Our fondest memories soon turn to poison
And only oblivion remains in season.
Extreme patience and persistence are required,
Yet everybody succeeds at this before being handed
The surprise box lunch of the rest of his life.
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