Guest poem submitted by Terry Smith:
(Poem #453) Keeping Things Whole
In a field I am the absence of field. This is always the case. Wherever I am I am what is missing. When I walk I part the air and always the air moves in to fill the spaces where my body's been. We all have reasons for moving. I move to keep things whole.
This sparse, philosophical free verse poem is from Mark Strand's 1964 "Sleeping With One Eye Open". Strand teaches at the University of Chicago, and is the Poet Laureate of the U.S. (though born a Canadian... another import we've acquired and made our own) I can turn the opening 3 lines around and around in my head for ages at a time, playing with the meanings, exploring the depth of the idea. These and the last 2 lines of that stanza are practically koans, and worthy of meditation. The second stanza seems just a short explanation for the sake of those with too little time for navel gazing, but the last stanza locks the poem's appeal to a drifter like me. A friend of mine was showing me Strand's 'Eating Poetry' in a compilation, and I opened to this one and fell in love with his talent at expressing such grand thoughts in so few beautiful words.