Heart Happy (cathy_edgett) wrote,
Heart Happy

Mark Doty -

Many of the poems in Mark Doty's wonderful poetry book, Source, are long, though they are all accessible and melodic, and worth the opening of and turning the pages of the book I recommend you purchase.  It is more than worth the price for mental, physical, and spiritual health. 

I offer one poem.

Brian Age 7

    Grateful for their tour
    of the pharmacy,
    the first-grade class
    has drawn these pictures,
    each self-portrait taped
    to the window-glass,
    faces wide to the street,
    round and available,
    with parallel lines for hair.

    I like this one best: Brian
    whose attenuated name
    fills a quarter of the frame
    stretched beside impossible
    legs descending from the ball
    of his torso, two long arms
    springing from that same
    central sphere.  He breathes here,

    on his page.  It isn't craft
    that makes this figure come alive;
    Brian draws just balls and lines,
    in wobbly crayon strokes.
    Why do some marks
    seem to thrill with life,
    possess a portion
    of the nervous energy
    in their maker's hand?

    The big curve of a smile
    reaches nearly to the rim
    of his face; he holds
    a towering ice cream,
    brown spheres teetering
    on their cone,
    a soda fountain gift
    half the length of him
    - as if it were the flag

    of his own country held high
    by the unadorned black line
    of his arm.  Such naked support
    for so much delight! Artless boy,
    he's found a system of beauty:
    he shows us pleasure
    and what pleasure resists.
    The ice cream is delicious.
    He's frail beside his relentless standard.


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