Monday, December 12, 2011


I am so disappointed in the French. One of our French managers visited the office today. He laughed at my joke and was generally charming. But when we retired to my desk to discuss "input queues," did he notice the book of Francis Ponge poems on my desk? Non! Or worse, he noticed and did not know Francis Ponge. It was truly disappointing.

Still, it's my week at Good Reads to pick the poems. My theme is THINGS. I've chosen poems that either take a close look at objects, or use them as a springboard. I include Ponge, and a bunch of others, including myself:

Monday: Fork by Charles Simic
Tuesday: Pity the Bathtub its Forced Embrace of the Human Form by Matthea Harvey
Wednesday: Oranges by Gary Soto
Thursday: The Frog by Francis Ponge
Friday: The Groundfall Pear by Jane Hirshfield
Saturday: Whisk by me
Sunday: Wick Effects by E.C. Belli

Below is Ponge's Frog, and maybe later this week I'll put up my Whisk, which also isn't online anywhere but will be in my chapbook Homebodies, due next year from Hyacinth Girl Press.

The Frog
When stabbing needlepoints of rain rebound from the sodden fields, an amphibious dwarf, an Ophelia with amputated arms, no bigger than a fist, springs up sometimes under the poet’s feet and hurls herself into the nearest pool.
Let the nervous creature flee. She has lovely legs. All her body is gloved in a waterproof skin. Barely flesh, her long muscles have an elegance neither fish nor fowl. But to escape your clutch the quality of fluidity in her combines with the efforts of a living thing.
Goitrous, she gasps . . . And that heart which throbs so heavily, whose wrinkled eyelids, that haggard mouth inspires such pity that I let her go.

La Grenouille
Lorsque la pluie en courtes aiguillettes rebondit aux prés saturés, une naine amphibie, une Ophélie manchote, grosse à peine comme le poing, jaillit parfois sou les pas du poète et se jette au prochain étang.
Laisson fuir la nerveuse. Elle a de jolies jambes. Tout son corps est ganté de peau imperméable. A peine viande ses muscles longs sont d’une elegance ni chair ni poisson. Mais pour quitter les doigts la vertu du fluide s’allie chez elle aux effort du vivant. Goitreuse, elle halite . . . Et ce cœur qui bat gros, ces paupières ridées, cette bouche hagarde m’apitoyent a la lâcher.

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