Guest poem sent in by Bob Fish
(Poem #1449) The Inner Part
When they had won the war And for the first time in history Americans were the most important people -- When the leading citizens no longer lived in their shirtsleeves and their wives did not scratch in public Just when they'd stopped saying "Gosh" -- When their daughters seemed as sensitive as the tip of a fly rod, and their sons were as smooth as a V-8 engine -- Priests, examining the entrails of birds, Found the heart misplaced, and seeds As black as death, emitting a strange odor.
Reading Yehuda Amichai's poem, "The Diameter of the Bomb" [Poem #1448] made me think of the awful diameter of American political hegemony in the world today and brought this poem by Jamaican-born poet Louis Simpson to mind. I have long admired the economy with which he paints this ominous augury, re-claiming the priestly mantle for the contemporary poet. Just a few carefully selected swaths of a brush effectively paint a picture of a gawky, adolescent American society coming out of the World Wars, proud and slightly naive about it's newfound status. Progress through technology would be the new religion that would shape the planet in a benevolent Pax Americana. Then, with a startlingly glorious turn at the word "Priests," Simpson skewers the modern political pretension with a reminder of the ancient mysteries, confirming that the sources of true life-sustaining power remain elusive, dark and primordial. America's current hubristic foreign policy clearly indicates this is a lesson we are still obstinately unwilling to learn. --Bob Fish [Links] Biography: [broken link] http://www.poets.org/poets/poets.cfm?45442B7C000C0E02