This is a Good Poem February 2nd

It’s the month of the dead.  Let’s think about love.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnet 43, 1845

One of the reasons I love this poem, aside from the fact that’s it’s an amazing declaration of love from a wonderful real life love story, is because I taught this in a high school English class once, and a boy told me, “I would kill to have a girl say that to me.”   When you get high school boys loving poetry, you’ve written a good poem.

But my favorite Barrett poem is still Sonnet 14:

“If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love’s sake only.
Do not say, “I love her for her smile—her look—her way
Of speaking gently,—for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day”—
For these things in themselves, Belovèd, may
Be changed, or change for thee—and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity’s wiping my cheeks dry:
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love’s sake, that evermore
Thou mayst love on, through love’s eternity.”

Or as some dude once put it, “Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds . . . ” (Sonnet 116.)



You Should Read (Maybe): Fire and Fury

This weekend in the comments, I said something disparaging about Michael Wolff’s book on the Trump administration, mentioning I was only half finished with it.  I’ve finished now, and I would change my reaction from “meh” to “huh.”  That is, it got better, but I’m still not sure if it’s worth reading since its general thesis was pretty evident before it was published.  I did laugh out loud once (more about that later), but mostly I had a Stengal-like reaction: “Can’t anybody here play this game?”  The following is not a review–this book has been reviewed enough–it’s a reaction to a description of the executive branch of our government that Monty Python would spit on as being too absurd..  A dead parrot would be a step-up in this administration, according to this book.  At least it wouldn’t tweet. Continue reading

This is a Good Poem January First


You asked for a monthly poetry exchange, you get a month poetry exchange.  How about Rita Dove to start a MUCH BETTER YEAR?



Imagine you wake up
with a second chance: The blue jay
hawks his pretty wares
and the oak still stands, spreading
glorious shade. If you don’t look back,
the future never happens.
How good to rise in sunlight,
in the prodigal smell of biscuits –
eggs and sausage on the grill.
The whole sky is yours
to write on, blown open
to a blank page. Come on,
shake a leg! You’ll never know
who’s down there, frying those eggs,
if you don’t get up and see.


Rita Dove, from On the Bus with Rosa Parks, 1999

ETA: Just woke up.  Couldn’t see the poem, either.  Welcome to 2018.  ARGH.