The Purpose of Poetry

Discussion in 'Tall Tales & Fabrications' started by Bill Boggs, Jun 4, 2015.

  1. Bill Boggs

    Bill Boggs Very Well-Known Member
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    Plant Talk: Vines Outside My Window


    The trumpets on the trumpet vines pointing my way,

    Like sun flowers follow the sun.

    I stopped chewing my breakfast to listen.


    I see them on the trellis outside my window

    Never do I remember those vines speaking

    so directly to me. I strain to listen, cup my ear.


    Yes they are talking not to each other but pointed

    toward me, demanding my focus. I look toward

    the middle, give attention to one long beautiful flower,

    gaze down her dark interior where the nectar is stored,


    The beauty and sweetness of her obvious, why she attracts.

    I stare, not hearing their words, then focus, listening,


    “It’s so dry and we are thirsty."


    Of course, I forgot to water the plants.





    The Purpose of Poetry


    This old man grazed thirty head of cattle

    in a valley just north of the covered bridge

    on the Mississinewa, where the reservoir

    stands today. Had a black border collie

    and a half-breed sheep dog with one eye.

    The dogs took the cows to pasture each morning

    and brought them home again at night

    and herded them into the barn. The old man

    would slip a wooden bar across both doors.

    One dog slept on the front porch, one on the back.


    He was waiting there one evening

    listening to the animals coming home

    when a man from the courthouse stopped

    to tell him how the new reservoir

    was going to flood all his property.

    They both knew he was too far up in years

    to farm anywhere else. He had a daughter

    who lived in Florida, in a trailer park.

    He should sell now and go stay with her.

    The man helped bar the doors before he left.


    He had only known dirt under his fingernails

    and trips to town on Saturday mornings

    since he was a boy. Always he had been around

    cattle, and trees, and land near the river.

    Evenings by the barn he could hear the dogs

    talking to each other as they brought in

    the herd; and the cows answering them.

    It was the clearest thing he knew. That night

    He shot both dogs and then himself.

    The purpose of poetry is to tell us about life.



    The Purpose of Poetry

    was written by Jared Carter


    It is one of my favorites.
     
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  2. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    Thanks Bill, for introducing Jared Carter ! I was kinda stunned by the ending! Here is an interview with Carter.
    http://pennreview.com/2009/03/a-conversation-with-jared-carter/
    Emmanuel: Many readers have been deeply impressed by “The Purpose of Poetry.” It’s probably not an exaggeration to say that when some people get to the end, they’re overwhelmed. They’re shaken by the last two lines.

    Carter: Well, it’s an unexpected ending — or a harsh ending, or even a trick ending, depending on how you look at it. But I think a poem like “Foundling” is as gentle and hopeful as “Purpose” is unsettling and stark.
     
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