Friday, April 29, 2011

Day 29: AN ODE


We count the fingers and toes of each new-
born as though this measurable mark of
perfection promises much more than good
balance and tools for arithmetic les-
sons. We start out self rated, most of us
TEN, by our digits. Then tentacles ex-
tend like limbs our existence, not to climb,
but tenderly tend the earth, touch the sky.
Ten below, ten on high, we entangle
tendrils tenaciously. Perhaps we touch.


(a found poem, read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac,
April 28, 2011)

And today is the birthday of poet Carolyn Forché ,
born in Detroit in 1950. A human rights activist
as well as a poet, she's committed to what she calls "the
poetry of witness," and this has opened her up to
criticism, especially in the United States, from
those who believe poetry and politics should be
separate concerns. She says that, in other countries,
"The poets are more expected to be intellectuals and
to have an active interest in history and politics and
everything going on. They're not expected to be
sequestered in a literary culture. They're not expected to have
no opinions about events in the world. They're expected to have
more seriously considered opinions because they're
poets — and not necessarily predictable
Her anthology, Against Forgetting (1993), collects
the work of international poets who had suffered
imprisonment, torture, and exile.

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