Happy National Poetry Month! I am getting a late start so I will be posting tomorrow and possibly Saturday in an effort to make it up. But I’m super excited about this month. Poetry is everything! This Rita Dove poem is something that my class will be analyzing this month. There is something so exquisite about the way that she has layered emotion and truth throughout the piece. It is so honest and I think that is the appeal of it for me. Well, that and the fact that she begins it with a Dickinson quote. I hope you all enjoy!
Life’s spell is so exquisite, everything conspires to break it.
It wasn’t bliss. What was bliss
but the ordinary life? She’d spend hours
in patter, moving through whole days
touching, sniffing, tasting . . . exquisite
housekeeping in a charmed world.
And yet there was always
more of the same, all that happiness,
the aimless Being There.
So she wandered for a while, bush to arbor,
lingered to look through a pond’s restive mirror.
He was off cataloging the universe, probably,
pretending he could organize
what was clearly someone else’s chaos.
That’s when she found the tree,
the dark, crabbed branches
bearing up such speechless bounty,
she knew without being told
this was forbidden. It wasn’t
a question of ownership—
who could lay claim to
such maddening perfection?
And there was no voice in her head,
no whispered intelligence lurking
in the leaves—just an ache that grew
until she knew she’d already lost everything
except desire, the red heft of it
warming her outstretched palm.