Holly Day's poem "The First Step" grabbed me with the first line, but what I really love about it is the idea of eating the written word, understanding the meaning of marriage by swallowing it. Lovely.
In Changming Yuan's poem "Fish," both the sound and concept of the phrase "swallowing similies" perfectly reflect what we're doing here at Eat Your Words.
Many thanks to both poets!
Many thanks to both poets!
The First Step
I take the piece of paper, put it
in my mouth, feel the word "love" dissolve in my saliva, in my blood
and now I understand marriage.
The individual letters drift like little stones
throughout my body, break up like tiny meteors, turn to sand
sink to my feet and
keep me here.
Holly Day is a housewife and mother of two living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, who teaches needlepoint classes in the Minneapolis school district. Her poetry has recently appeared in The Worcester Review, Broken Pencil, and Slipstream, and she is a recent recipient of the Sam Ragan Poetry Prize from Barton College. Her book publications include Music Composition for Dummies, Guitar-All-in-One for Dummies, Notenlesen für Dummies Das Pocketbuch, and Music Theory for Dummies, which has recently been translated into French, Dutch, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, and German. Her novel, The Trouble With Clare" is due out from Hydra Publications in 2013.
If you could, would you become a fish
That can swim, freely in the water, but without
Being able to touch the horizon? —I don’t know
If you could, would you become a whale
The king of the ocean, the ocean of words
For instance, the most powerful? —How powerful?
You wait for all other words to feed you
Like planktons, or swallow other fishes like similes
Metaphors, because you are big. —Yes, very big
If you could, would you become a blue whale
Whose calls and songs can reach afar, far
Beyond a civilization? —Who can hear me then?
"Jonah and the Whale," Pieter Lastman, 1621
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Presented in the shape of
All female tenderness
As smooth as sleek
As fantasy, where, and whereby
Changming Yuan, seven-time Pushcart nominee and author of Chansons of a Chinaman (2009) and Landscaping (2013), grew up in rural China but currently tutors in Vancouver, where he co-edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan and operates PP Press. With a PhD in English, Yuan has most recently been interviewed by World Poetry (CFRO100.5FM), and had poetry appear in Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, London Magazine, Threepenny Review, and 800 other literary journals/anthologies across 28 countries.
"Still Life with Mangoes," Paul Gauguin, 1896
Public Domain, courtesy The Athenaeum.