Friday, December 02, 2016

Poetry Friday: The Next Poem


The Next Poem

 by Dana Gioia

How much better it seems now
than when it is finally done–
the unforgettable first line,
the cunning way the stanzas run.

The rhymes soft-spoken and suggestive
are barely audible at first,
an appetite not yet acknowledged
like the inkling of a thirst.

While gradually the form appears
as each line is coaxed aloud–
the architecture of a room
seen from the middle of a crowd.

The music that of common speech
but slanted so that each detail
sounds unexpected as a sharp
inserted in a simple scale.

No jumble box of imagery
dumped glumly in the reader’s lap
or elegantly packaged junk
the unsuspecting must unwrap.

But words that could direct a friend
precisely to an unknown place,
those few unshakeable details
that no confusion can erase.

And the real subject left unspoken
but unmistakable to those
who don’t expect a jungle parrot
in the black and white of prose.

How much better it seems now
than when it is finally written.
How hungrily one waits to feel
the bright lure seized, the old hook
                                              bitten.

 


Bridget has the roundup here.  

7 comments:

Tabatha said...

This is one to read and re-read. Thanks, Ruth!

Irene Latham said...

Ha! This reminds me of that quote about people don't want to write a book, they want to have written it. :) Oh what we must go through to get to THE END. Thank you for sharing, Ruth! xo

Bridget Magee said...

"And the real subject left unspoken
but unmistakable to those
who don’t expect a jungle parrot
in the black and white of prose."
I had an instructor who encouraged us to "write behind our backs". I feel like that is what Gioia is doing here. Thanks for sharing, Ruth. =)

Mary Lee said...

Love the way the first and last stanzas work in harmony! (Love the whole thing, actually!)

Linda B said...

I had an assistant a long time ago who reveled in Gioia's poems, and taught me to find that "real subject left unspoken". It was a gift of learning for me to discover his work. Thanks Ruth!

Brenda Harsham said...

I love that poem, and especially the lines, "unmistakable to those/ who don’t expect a jungle parrot/ in the black and white of prose." I always expect jungle parrots! LOL

Myra Garces-Bacsal said...

I love this stanza most of all:

But words that could direct a friend
precisely to an unknown place,
those few unshakeable details
that no confusion can erase.

Oh to have that unshakeable truth that can not be erased.