Tuesday, April 14, 2009

National Poetry Month - Charles Simic

More National Poetry Month observation...

The following is one of my favorite poems by Charles Simic. It's a short little piece that pays homage to John Donne's early Sensuality poem, The Flea.

Whereas Donne's was rife with the wooing and imagery reflective of a much more romantic era... Simic's Love Flea has a darker slant to it. The imagery shows a level of obsession that borders on the creepy. What I especially love about Simic is that, even though he is not a native born English speaker, his poetry and language skills are better than people who've been speaking English for their entire lives.

And that's really sort of the crux of why I'm celebrating National Poetry Month. Our language and the expression of it are essential. I once read somewhere that the United States was the only country in the world where more than 50% of its students fail their own language.

That's shameful. And that's why I ask you to indulge my celebration of National Poetry month. I may be an English Lit and poetry dork, but I'm also dismayed at the lack of respect our own unique language and voice gets - even from those of us that grew up speaking and reading it.

Anyway...back to creepy, obsessive poems about fleas....

Love Flea

He took a flea
From her armpit
To keep

And cherish
In a matchbox,
Even pricking his finger

From time to time
To feed it
Drops of blood.


Randal Graves said...

Oh man, like you are so like right on this. Like when I'm at work like and I hear the worstest like grammar that like you never not didn't hear, like it's like terrible.

I know part of this is the inevitable curmudgeon factor seeping into the skull, but this is what happens when everything is designed to promote MBA cubicle-ism and the armies of cubicle bots in their wake. I'm not saying they should be teaching Latin K-12, but this is the dark side of instantaneous technology.

And Simic is great poet as well, the bastard.

Dr. Zombie said...

Nothing curmudgeonly about it, Randal. It's hard to be a literate person in an illiterate world.

I blame the American educational system... that and the fact that - as you said - it's become a Texting/Twitter world where grammar and proper syntax are mythical beasts; like unicorns, leprechauns, and tolerant Republicans.

Randal Graves said...

Leprechauns? Oh, everyone knows the leprechaun is extinct!