April is National Poetry Writing Month are you in?
I’m saying it: I’m in. I’m committed to writing one poem every day this month (yes, I started a poem yesterday). I am going to find the courage (it may be hiding under my bed or in the broom closet) to share one or three of these poems with you so you have been warned.
It would really make me feel braver if you would share your poems too. I hope you won’t laugh too loudly or too long at my scribblings.
But today is not a day for uproar and laughter. No, today belongs to Peter Davison(1928-2004).
Peter Davison was a man of many talents: poet, singer, amateur actor and editor to authors like Carl Jung, Stanley Kunitz and Agnes de Mille. He believed that public writing had become too much the stuff of nouns, commodified and inert, and not enough the stufff of verbs.
Don’t you agree with that? He once said that the verb “to die” has a lot more life packed into it than the verb “to be” ever will.
When I first read Mr Davison’s “The Level Path” I couldn’t just photocopy it, no, I had to write it out in my journal (2010). That’s how much I loved it. I also think I wept.
Read it out loud, you’ll see.
Descend here along a shower of
shallow steps past the potting shed with
its half-rotted ironbound door
to reach the level path. It winds
northward, high hat, girdling
the waist of a limestone cliff
beyond earshot of the clamorous village below. The
squeezed access bears us vaguely along
shifting digressions of the compass, past
eye-level seductions of violet, periwinkle, primrose, and petals
like lisping yellow butterflies. Naked limbs
of beech, haggard liftings of pine,
a hairy upthrust of cedar beside a
curving stone bench, all hint at eruptions
into Eros. Yet another seat displays
a cushion of undisturbed luxuriant moss around its clefts and
edges. Thick harsh leaves
of holly, ivy, even of palmetto
thrust up, pathside, between tender new petals,
while other friendly shrubs reach down
from overhead to fondle our faces.
There is no escape from the dreadful beauty of
this narrow path. It leads nowhere
except to itself and
the black water below.