Knopf will email you a poem a day during April, National Poetry Month. (April is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month, but that’s another story all together.) I’ve been signed up for the poem-a-day for years, and in the past generally felt too harried to read the poems — too much email to deal with at work, and I didn’t want to come home and read more on my home email account. But now I have gmail, which I get on my Droid and have set up on my igoogle homepage, which I check a few times during the day, needing brief respites from the intensity of focus I maintain during work. And there is my gmail, and there are the poems from Knopf, so this month I’ve been taking a few moments and reading them. I’m trying to learn how to take breaks because I’m about to take a bit of a break for good.
Yesterday’s poem was “Wellfleet Shabbat” by Marge Piercy, a fiction writer I’ve admired but I’ve never been a fan of her poetry. This poem confirmed why. The poem is over-written and in spite of its central metaphor, unimaginative in its language. I sent it to David to read and see if he agreed. Not only did he agree, he wrote a brilliant Haikuification in response. So, below is the Haiku and the poem. See what you think. Sincere apologies to Marge Piercy should it ever come to her attention that I blogged about not liking her poem. I devoured her novels in the 70’s.
Moon never meets sea
No hawk no red no muscle
Wellfleet Shabbat by Marge Piercy
The hawk eye of the sun slowly shuts.
The breast of the bay is softly feathered
dove grey. The sky is barred like the sand
when the tide trickles out.
The great doors of Shabbat are swinging
open over the ocean, loosing the moon
floating up slow distorted vast, a copper
balloon just sailing free.
The wind slides over the waves, patting
them with its giant hand, and the sea
stretches its muscles in the deep,
purrs and rolls over.
The sweet beeswax candles flicker
and sigh, standing between the phlox
and the roast chicken. The wine shines
its red lantern of joy.
Here on this piney sandspit, the Shekinah
comes on the short strong wings of the seaside
sparrow raising her song and bringing
down the fresh clean night.