Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Poetry doesn't need to explain, or answer. This is something that I try to get students to embrace, which isn't easy for them to do. High school aged poets pride themselves on how much they think they know. They are taught to be clear, to deliver to the page whatever truth might be in them to bring out to the world. Heavy burden for anyone to carry, I think. Why not let the poem propose its own set of mysteries, I like to ask them. Open yourself up to that, I say. The results can be quite surprising and poets, young or old, can arrive at an artifact that might not otherwise be found.

What I Don't Know
Twelve o'clock at night
when the late night TV flickers
in the dark. Late night comedy shows pour
into my sleeping mother's ears.
What will become of us? Will she be happy
in the future? How can I help her?
Will I be able to support and keep myself
happy? Mortician, funeral director, zookeeper?
Is college going to work? Loans, scholarships, grants?
Will my government help us? Can we get
out alive and happy? What will become of
social security? My medicine? Medicaid? Retirement?
My mother wakes. She turns to me and asks,
"Are you okay?"
I reply with dry, tired eyes. "I don't know yet."
I turn to the window. It's dawn.
Samantha Bloomer
Western International High School
* * *
Things I Don’t Know
A man walks his dog and my dogs bark
As if ready to jump across the gate.
I stare out the window and try to understand
Why is it that dogs go after one another?
And why do we try to quiet them down?
Rocio Gomez
Western International High School

1 comment:

  1. A really great poet used to say that a poem ought to both invite and resist interpretation at the same time. That stuck with me.