Tuesday, April 25, 2006


In my attempt to become more familiar with the first (of two) New Jersey State poet laureates, I looked up Gerald Stern on poets.org, which happens to be one of my fave websites of all time.
I found the following poem called "The Dancing" (when New Jersey's first poet laureate hails from PITTSBURGH, it's no wonder that we don't have an official state poem. Ugh.).:

In all these rotten shops, in all this broken furniture

and wrinkled ties and baseball trophies and coffee pots

I have never seen a post-war Philco

with the automatic eye

nor heard Ravel's "Bolero" the way I did

in 1945 in that tiny living room

on Beechwood Boulevard, nor danced as I did

then, my knives all flashing, my hair all streaming,

my mother red with laughter, my father cupping

his left hand under his armpit, doing the dance

of old Ukraine, the sound of his skin half drum,

half fart, the world at last a meadow,

the three of us whirling and singing, the three of us

screaming and falling, as if we were dying,

as if we could never stop--in 1945--

in Pittsburgh, beautiful filthy Pittsburgh, home

of the evil Mellons, 5,000 miles away

from the other dancing--in Poland and Germany--

oh God of mercy, oh wild God.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice colors. Keep up the good work. thnx!