On November 4 the One Page Poetry Circle met to discuss Poetry and Politics.

DonkeyAndElephantAbigail began by reading Hilaire Belloc’s “The Justice of the Peace” in which the speaker chides his tenant, “I do not envy you your hat, your shoe./Why should you envy me my small estate?/It’s fearfully illogical of you/To fight with economic force and fate.” We laughed sadly at the irony of the poem describing a world in which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Roger read “Ozymandias” by John Keats. A traveller has seen a broken statue in the desert, “Nothing beside remains./Round the decay/Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare/The lone and level sands stretch far away,” reminding us of the death of all tyrants and civilizations.

Hazel read Vachel Lindsay’s “Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight,” which describes Lincoln mourning over the state of the world, “It breaks his heart that kings must murder still,/That all his hours of travail here for men/Seem yet in vain. And who will bring white peace/That he may sleep upon his hill again?” Our first three poems all envision a world in which the more things change, the more they remain the same.

Gail read “Exquisite Politics” by Denise Duhamel which describes conflicting attitudes about the United States with humor, “Someday … I’ll leave [America] as easy as a marriage,/splitting our assets, hoping to get the advantage/before the other side yells: Wow! America,/Vespucci’s first name and home of free and brave, Te amo.”

Karen read two short poems by Calvin Trillin. Here is “An Optimist Greets the New Speaker” in full: “It’s true for greed this has to be a gainer/(To lobbyists John Boehner’s on retainer)./Can anything be said for Speaker Boehner?/Yes. Others in the party are insaner.” These poems provided a good laugh on a day when we were not laughing about the state of politics.

Terry read from Maya Angelou’s “On the Pulse of Morning” written for the inauguration of President Clinton. The poem ends, “Here on the pulse of this new day/You may have the grace to look up and out/And into your sister’s eyes, into/Your brother’s face, your country/And say simply/Very simply/With hope/Good morning.”

AnnaLee completed our circle by reading another poem by Denise Duhamel, “Exquisite Candidate” which gives us a hodge-podge of candidates’ pledges, “I can promise you this: food in the White House/will change! No more granola, only friend eggs/flipped the way we like them. And ham ham ham!” AnnaLee noted that the title of this poem, as well as the poem that Gail read, reference the parlor game, Exquisite Corpse, in which a piece of paper is folded and rolled and each participant adds to the picture of a person in sequence (but without seeing what the others have done) until like the poem, there is a composite of a body from head to toes.

We were delighted to learn that one member of our group, Esther Lazarson, published a book of poetry, “Everyday Poems for Everyday People,” available from amazon.com.

And finally, Larry who moved away but has remained a friend of OPPC, posted two Robinson Jeffers poems to our blog on the subject of Poetry and Politics. See what Larry has to say at https://onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/oppc-november-4-poetry-politics/#comments .

We look forward to reading and discussing your selections for our next program, Poetry and Drink on December 9th.

Bring a friend and widen the circle! And remember to blog with us at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com. Don’t be shy.

Schedule for the spring:
February 10: Poems about every day things
March 10: Poetry and red
April 14: Lyric poetry
May 12: Poetry and health

Abigail Burnham Bloom and
AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.