Sunday, March 12, 2006

Poetry Sunday

I highly recommend reading anything by this poet. Of all her poems, this one is my favorite:

Descending Theology: The Crucifixion
By Mary Karr

To be crucified is first to lie down
on a shaved tree, and then to have oafs stretch you out
on a crossbar as if for flight, then thick spikes
fix you into place.

Once the cross pops up and the pole stub
sinks vertically in an earth hole perhaps
at an awkward list, what then can you blame for hurt
but your own self's burden?

You're not the figurehead on a ship. You're not
flying anywhere, and no one's coming to hug you.
You hang like that, a sack of flesh with the hard
trinity of nails holding you into place.

Thus hung, your ribcage struggles up
to breathe until you suffocate, give up the ghost.
If God permits this, one wonders how
this twirling earth

manages to navigate the gravities and star tugs.
Or if some less than loving watcher
watches us scuttle across the boneyard greens
under which worms

seethe and the front jaws of beetles
eventually clasp toward the flesh of every beloved.
The man on the cross under massed thunderheads feels
his soul leak away,

then surge. Some windy authority lures him higher
till an unseen tear in the sky's membrane is rent,
and he's streaming light, snatched back, drawn close,
so all loneliness ends.


Shrubbery said...

My all time favorite poem is Rudyard Kipling's Gunga Din.

Last stanza reads...

'E carried me away
To where a dooli lay,
And a bullet came and drilled the beggar clean.
'E put me safe inside,
And just before 'e died,
"I 'ope you liked your drink," sez Gunga Din.
So I'll see 'im later on,
In the place where 'e is gone,
Where it's always double drill and no canteen;
'E'll be squattin' on the coals,
Givin' drink to poor damned souls,
And I'll get a swig in hell from Gunga Din!
And it's "Din! Din! Din!"
You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!
Though I've belted you and flayed you,
By the livin' God that made you,
You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!

Shrubbery said...

I also like Kipling's If...

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And -- which is more -- you'll be a Man, my son!

Morgan said...

That reminds me of the old cartoon:
Man: Do you like Kipling?
Woman: I don't know. I've never Kippled.

I've Kippled a little but not a lot so I've never read Gunga Din. Your second offering sounds familiar. It looks like I'm going to have to do a bit of Kipling to bring myself up to speed.

And I do love hearing about other people's favorite poems and poets.