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Where Poetry Sleeps

When society aches words become the
Medicine. Aching now, as always, where
Does poetry sleep, if at all?
Lost art at the mercy of much diluted art.
The quality hidden. Spray paint over
Van Gogh, Levittowns over Gaudi’s Barcelona,
Best sellers over Yeats.

All the earth lost in the wrong kind of madness,
The impure madness, the non-thinkers madness.
Bells have never sounded for only poetry,
Maybe once. Somewhere poetry is still spoken,
Like times of revolution, covered over,
When ideas spread by the soft light of fire,
When quiet fear was quiet hope, when
Spoken words carried weight like slaves carried stone.

Sleeping verses tucked in their respective
Slumbering settings. Under dorm room beds
Next to beer bottles. On lonely shelves,
Though created, sit unread, unused, unloved lines.
Worn dusty books that creak open like old vine
Covered cellar doors after a generation has passed.
The light that wakes the earth when most are not awake,
When normal light arrives they emerge from their dream poems,
Shake them off and go about the day’s business.

The hidden word, the lost word, as if one
Is instructed to not stare into the glare of an
Angel’s wings, or into the darkness of a demon’s desire.
The past aching, the book quivering
At the trudge of history’s destruction,
At the SS boots thumping in the night to
Incinerate thought at the heart of a Nazi book burning,
Or the loss from the Chairman’s Cultural Revolution,
But poppies grew from the wreckage of No Mans Land.

Then eventually, society aching, words become
The medicine, poetry rises from the ashes
Without asking for much. Streets fill up
With goodness for awhile, then it fades
Back to the hidden state and sleeps again.
Flourish then burn, then rise and be forgotten,
So the cycle goes, so the poetry sleeps.

Kyle McHale        2012

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