Okay, so we’re a little late in the game — almost 2/3 of the way through April — but I couldn’t resist doing a poetry shout-out. I tend to be particular about poems. I’m usually somewhat ambivalent, but the ones I like, I love. So here is one of those poems that I love: Daddy, by Sylvia Plath. It has an incredible rhythm and rhyme to it. It’s a dark poem, but in my opinion the best poems make you want to read them out loud, and this one certainly does.
April is National Poetry Month. To celebrate, I’m sharing one of my favorite poems with you. This is Sharon Olds’ “I go Back to May 1937.”
I see them standing at the formal gates of their colleges,
I see my father strolling out
under the ochre sandstone arch, the
red tiles glinting like bent
plates of blood behind his head, I
see my mother with a few light books at her hip
standing at the pillar made of tiny bricks with the
wrought-iron gate still open behind her, its
sword-tips black in the May air,
they are about to graduate, they are about to get married,
they are kids, they are dumb, all they know is they are
innocent, they would never hurt anybody.
I want to go up to them and say Stop,
don’t do it–she’s the wrong woman,
he’s the wrong man, you are going to do things
you cannot imagine you would ever do,
you are going to do bad things to children,
you are going to suffer in ways you never heard of,
you are going to want to die. I want to go
up to them there in the late May sunlight and say it,
her hungry pretty blank face turning to me,
her pitiful beautiful untouched body,
his arrogant handsome blind face turning to me,
his pitiful beautiful untouched body,
but I don’t do it. I want to live. I
take them up like the male and female
paper dolls and bang them together
at the hips like chips of flint as if to
strike sparks from them, I say
Do what you are going to do, and I will tell about it.
What are your favorite poems? Any favorite poets?