Wednesday, April 6, 2011

National Poetry Month: 30 New Poems--Six of Thirty

John Updike certainly isn't a new name. But I don't think I knew that he wrote poetry. And I certainly hadn't read this gem before:

by John Updike

Show me a piece of land that God forgot—
a strip between an unused sidewalk, say,
and a bulldozed lot, rich in broken glass—
and there, July on, will be chicory,

its leggy hollow stems staggering skyward,
its leaves rough-hairy and lanceolate,
like pointed shoes too cheap for elves to wear,
its button-blooms the tenderest mauve-blue.

How good of it to risk the roadside fumes,
the oil-soaked heat reflected from asphalt,
and wretched earth dun-colored like cement,
too packed for any other seed to probe.

Read the rest here.

I think this would be a great model for young poets to use as inspiration, especially when it comes to descriptive language. And a good vocabulary builder, too. Not only did I have to look up "chicory" (turns out I'd seen it, but didn't know what it was called. And you can eat its roots. Who knew?) but also "lanceolate."

The first week of National Poetry Month is nearly over! Don't worry, you can get caught up on the parts of this series you might have missed. And also you can make sure you never miss another post. More tomorrow!

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