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  • Writer's pictureandrew jeter

They are useful...

Updated: Apr 13, 2020

(from the NaPoWriMo prompt: write a triolet.) [Ugh, my least favorite—rhyming. I actually tried, for what it is worth, but just couldn't make it happen. So, I stuck with 8 lines and worked from a poem (see below) I've been thinking about a lot lately as I continue work on my new collection So Many Fishes.]

They are useful sometimes—

to carve mother’s soft white hair

or weave husband’s eye-squeezing laugh

at what is, afterall, a very old joke

or fill this empty silo on a gray, spring day.

Yes, they can be raw, stone, knife, or rusty saw too,

but words are sometimes very useful.

Poetry by Marianne Moore is a poem that deserves time and patience.

Poetry by Marianne Moore

I too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond       all this fiddle.    Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one       discovers that there is in    it after all, a place for the genuine.       Hands that can grasp, eyes       that can dilate, hair that can rise          if it must, these things are important not because a high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because       they are    useful; when they become so derivative as to become       unintelligible, the    same thing may be said for all of us—that we       do not admire what       we cannot understand. The bat,          holding on upside down or in quest of something to eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless       wolf under    a tree, the immovable critic twinkling his skin like a horse       that feels a flea, the base-    ball fan, the statistician—case after case       could be cited did       one wish it; nor is it valid          to discriminate against “business documents and school-books”; all these phenomena are important. One must       make a distinction    however: when dragged into prominence by half poets,       the result is not poetry,    nor till the autocrats among us can be      “literalists of       the imagination”—above          insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them,       shall we have    it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand, in defiance of their opinion—    the raw material of poetry in       all its rawness, and       that which is on the other hand,          genuine, then you are interested in poetry.

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