Great poems are diamonds and the words in them individual carbon atoms laid perfect and tight. William Goldman said in Which Lie Did I Tell that poetry is the ultimate form of compression. It’s true. I’m terrified to write poems myself, terrified because I know they’re giong to suck eggs and I need to hide behind a little benefit of the doubt.
I first read the following poem on the New York subway a few weeks ago. It was part of some ad promoting mabe a book store or something. I just read it over and over again, stunned at how the author could sum up aging, life, disappointment, idiocy and change so perfectly. That last line has reverbed in my head ever since.
Rather than crap on and on about it, here it is:
A Little Tooth
by Thomas Lux
Your baby grows a tooth, then two,
and four, and five, then she wants some meat
directly from the bone. It’s all
over: she’ll learn some words, she’ll fall
in love with cretins, dolts, a sweet
talker on his way to jail. And you,
your wife, get old, flyblown, and rue
nothing. You did, you loved, your feet
are sore. It’s dusk. Your daughter’s tall.