Sep 18, 2009

Poem for a Day: "Blackberry Eating" by Galway Kinnell

Once I heard the comment, “Poetry is where our wildness is.” So . . . not in war, then? Not in skydiving? Or even golf?

But that guy was talking about babies babbling in their cribs, their fascination with their own voices and sounds. “Look what I can do.” Or, “What was that? Oh, that was me, making noise.”

Old or new, some poems make more than others of the babble, the music, in language. Be sure to read this one aloud—slowly. If you dare, lie on the floor, on your back, and play with your toes.

As the poem’s speaker eats berries (or are they poems?), you might hear his primitive, sensuous babbling, replete with short a and bl sounds—until the sibilance breaks in toward the end and declares war, only to lose quickly, surrendering again to bl and short a. This whole business is much wilder than skydiving and causes fewer casualties than war.


Anonymous said...

I appreciated your commentary else the poem would have been utterly lost on me.

Is he really that cagey?

Banjo52 said...

Glad I helped. Believe me, I never know.

I feel sure he is that "cagey," though people seem reluctant to think of poetry as such a considered thing. I've heard enough poets on the subject to feel comfortable thinking it is very considered--but also very lucky. And if the poem doesn't feel immediate, spontaneous, and so forth, all's lost. This thinking about the process goes at least as far back as Keats.

Lovers' Lane