Thursday, January 12, 2006

Odysseus on the Weekend

I think this is the oldest poem I’ve posted here, though I’ve refurbished it a bit.  I wrote it so long ago—or so it feels—that parts of it make me laugh through unfamiliarity, something that’d never happen if I had really been engaged with it recently.  Anyway, it’s an odd feeling, confronting one’s older work.  It’s been suggested that no poet should revise his earlier work, because a different poet wrote it.  I don’t know if I agree with that, but I understand it.

Odysseus observes a crocus.  When
spring has arrived for real, the phone proclaims
non-stop—minor tars, boat-insurance chums,
the odd surviving monster, half a god
(always the father’s half).  “When can we go?”
“Will you be packing?”  “How’d you like a brawl?”
A card from Nausicaa, who can’t forget.
A card from Sy, who doesn’t want to see
no man this season.   But the goats’ fresh grass
must be refreshed with bone, then power raked.
No one is going looting till that’s done.
A circular from Agamemnon’s girl,
one of them, raising prostate money.  Two
appeals for orphanages from the Wee
Survivors, a non-profit building fund.
He calls his dog Achilles for a walk.
Replacement he, willing, but much too young
to know that spring had other names than this.
Paris is dead this time of year; the kids
bleat across a green and unbloodied field.