The Efficacy of Poetry

By ManyaO

What the fuck’s it for --
poetry – anyway?
It doesn’t give back what was yours.
It doesn’t pick you up from all fours.
When we need it most:
Funerals, the end of love affairs,
the birth of a child,
the cresting of delphiniums
the blistering of desert heat
the dark of night, dawn,
does it slake our thirst,
deaden pain,
mollify our fear of the unspeakable
breathing of cheeses?
(Not to speak of drying your tears.)
Or these tears, cracking laughter,
triangles of reference, 
The Finger of God,
chitchat on that porch,
and that halleluwhat?
What is poetry for?
Does it give us closure?
What a concept. What a conceit.
Who came up with that?
I’d like to stick his hand down
my garbage disposal
before he writes his next.
The only closure is death.
And everything between birth and death
-- poetry.
Merilyn Jackson 2012

Unauthorized Copying Is Prohibited. Ask the author first.
Copyright 2017 ManyaO
Published on Saturday, February 11, 2017.     Filed under: "Poetry"

Author's Note:

First appeared in and then in Poiesis Review 6. I worked on this poem at a Sarah Lawrence workshop with the late Tom Lux, a great poet and stern teacher. I dedicate i tto his memory.
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  • TropicalSnowstorm On Saturday, May 4, 2019, TropicalSnowstorm (1712)By person wrote:

    This was a magnificent piece! I enjoyed this so much, and I love the notion that everything between birth and death is poetry. Ciao, T/S Scholar

  • sheff On Sunday, April 14, 2019, sheff (109)By person wrote:

    It’s curious.. I was just thinking about this the other day. For me, art/poetry is difficult to create unless I need a crutch through trauma. Maybe for me, it’s sailing through difficult times. I enjoyed this brilliant write. You are incredibly talented. I hope you post more.

  • ManyaO On Sunday, April 14, 2019, ManyaO (20)By person wrote:

    TY you Sheff for your warm words and for bringing me back into the fold. I have been astray for 3 yeas with multiple surgeries, PT and so on. Still writing but only post that which has already been published, or those that no one dares publish because of content. Your On a Warm Saturday & Piccaso (a lovely ekphrastic poem) are two intriguing poems. I like the ambiguousness of the last stanza in Warm Saturday. It COULD read "a beautiful girl is never PERCEIVED to be the violent one. But by repeating "funny how" that's implied, and what could be obvious better left unsaid. Good poets, are good editors too. Have a wam Sunday.

  • cogitative On Saturday, February 11, 2017, cogitative (100)By person wrote:

    good piece nice tribute

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