Imago lacus

The picture above was taken by a dear friend, the American poet Debra Kang Dean (please do not use it without permission). I met Debra three years before, when I went to Walden to work with his late husband Brad, a great Thoreau scholar. Once we spent hours tracking this quotation: "Some men go fishing all their lives without ever realizing it's not fish they are after." We concluded that Thoreau never wrote it, but si non è vero...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

3 poems by Harvey Shapiro (1924-2013)

New York Notes

Caught on a side street
in heavy traffic, I said
to the cabbie, I should
have walked. He replied,
I should have been a doctor.

When can I get on the 11:33
I ask the guy in the information booth
at the Atlantic Avenue Station.
When they open the doors, he says.
I am home among my people.

The Uses of Poetry

This was a day when I did nothing,
aside from reading the newspaper,
taking both breakfast and lunch by myself
in the kitchen, dozing after lunch
until the middle of the afternoon. Then
I read one poem by Zbigniew Herbert
in which he thanked God for the many beautiful
things in this world, in a voice so absurdly
truthful, the entire wrecked day was redeemed.

The Mother of Invention

On my desk are the bills from the living
and in my sleep are the bills from the dead.

“Emptiness is the mother of invention”
says my fortune cookie. July 23, 2010.
Brooklyn. I walk in the slow rain,
never less accomplished, never happier.

Why should I doubt the world has meaning
when even in myself I see mysterious purposes.

A crow drops down for a moment,
black, rabbinical garb, croaking Kaddish.

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