Poetry makes nothing happen—so the
Old guy said, long ago.
Who reads it anyhow? Not like the way
Each penguin chick has its own
Raucous cry, grown ones milling amidst the
Chickish mob, listening, till each one
Recognizes its offspring’s voice
And settles in to feed it. Sub-
Zero winds and glacier to the horizon, but
Yes, they’d know their own anywhere.
So how about that for meaning,
Eh? Anyone understands that. But poetry,
Now there’s a puzzle. Tease out the
Implications of each line from the
Obvious words: what is it that
Remains? Something like a love song, maybe:
Given that banality, it’s a wonder
Everyone isn’t doing it. It makes
Nothing happen, right? Benign. Poems can’t fill
Empty bellies, empty arms
Remaining after loss, the empty room
After someone’s disappeared
Like a story that never was told.
Tell it, I say. Tell about what
Happens when the poets speak,
A message hidden in plain sight.
Now we hear the voice of our own, of anyone
Singing out from the huddled,
Hungry mob. Yes, something like love.
We know love and justice when we hear it,
Each in our separate voice, clapping hands, demanding to live.