Poetry is the Art of Not Succeeding

Poetry is the art of not succeeding;
the art of making a little ritual
out of your own bad luck, lighting a little fire
made of leaves, reciting a prayer
in the ordinary dark.

It’s the art of those who didn’t make it
after all; who were lucky enough to be
left behind, while the winners ran on ahead
to wherever it is winners
go running to.

O blessed rainy day, glorious
as a paper bag. The kingdom of poetry
is like this–quiet, anonymous,
a dab of sunlight on the back of your hand,
a view out the window just before dusk.

It’s an art more shadow than statue,
and has something to do with your dreams
running out–a bare branch darkening
on a winter sky, the week-old snow
frozen into something hard.

it’s an art as simple as drinking water
from a tin cup; of loving that moment
at the end of autumn, say, when the air
holds no more promises, and the days are short
and likely to be gray.

A bland light is best to see it in.
Middle age brings it to flower.
And there, just when you’re feeling your weakest,
it floods you completely,
leaving you weeping as you drive your car.

– Joe Salerno

One comment on “Poetry is the Art of Not Succeeding

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s