Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fool party

After yet another five hours spent in ferrying two children and then waiting in Oneonta while they drove around with Ted of Baxter's driving school, I am ready to party! Being a writer and hence capable of large amounts of peculiar behavior, I am working on the poems in The Book of the Red King for my reward. That means I am revising some, tossing some, slightly tweaking others, and patting a few on the head with no change. Here's one, the first of thirteen that appeared in At Length in the past year. (More poems here. It's easy to see an alchemical influence in this group.)

DEFINITION OF FOOL

What does it mean to be a fool?

Is it to reel about the world
Like stars made out of icicles,
Dangerous and breakable?

What does it mean to be a fool?

Is it to make the things no one
Can recognize or put to use?
For the beautiful, for hurt joy?

He spins around, wanting to learn.

The Fool is dreaming that he lies
With truth—across a grave like glass
He lies, the shaft shoaling with leaves.

What can he do with schooling dark?

Each minnowed leaf says leave-taking.
He shakes his rattle at the dark
And fills his antic hat with leaves.

11 comments:

  1. I like this very much, there are some lovely phrases and ideas here!

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  2. Hey, I'm honored to have a poem admired by the Crafty Green Poet!

    Thank you, Juliet...

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  3. His helpless heart is full of love, that Fool, so you can count on him loving you back.

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  4. The Fool is the King of Fools and I am jealous.

    So much wisdom from him!

    The Red King poetry is a gift to the world, for sure.

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  5. He shakes his bells at you! A friendly gesture, I think...

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  6. I also love this alter ego of yours. This is a wonderful poem.

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  7. I'm glad, Robbi! And now I toddle off to high school open house...

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  8. oh, hugs, Marly...and please pass it along to the dear Fool.

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  9. Marja-Leena,

    Thank you! (Transformation is good...)

    Zephyr,

    The Fool thanks you (with hug and bells.)

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.