A blustery day to blow the world away

The first time I read this poem, the imagery of the middle stanza enchanted me and puzzled me. The second time through, I appreciated it for its suggestion that all the solid things we build our lives in and on are nothing more than cleverly painted sets.

I can't help but think that by the end of the poem we are supposed to take our cue from the chickens and question whether we've misplaced the faith we have in our rickety world.

Also, situated in Chicagoland as I am for the time being, an evocative poem about wind is always in good taste.

Windy Evening
This old world needs propping up
When it gets this cold and windy.
The cleverly painted sets,
Oh, they're shaking badly!
They're about to come down.

There'll be nothing but infinite space.
The silence supreme. Almighty silence.
Egyptian sky. Stars like torches
Of grave robbers entering the crypts of kings.
Even the wind pausing, waiting to see.

Better grab hold of that tree, Lucille.
Its shape crazed, terror-stricken.
I'll hold on to the barn.
The chickens in it are restless.
Smart chickens, rickety world.

-Charles Simic

[via]

Poetry Friday round-up at Yat-Yee Chong's place.

5 comments:

Erin 11/14/2008 10:15 AM  

Ooh. That's a delicious extract of shiver-lovely (to adapt your own phrase)!

enc 11/15/2008 10:33 AM  

That bit of writing is very time- and location-appropriate, isn't it?

I love how you call it "Chicagoland."

:)

odessa 11/15/2008 3:57 PM  

love this! you pick really good poems.

Tobey 11/16/2008 7:53 AM  

hmm, i like that. what are you studying at school, miss culieann?
hello from laos, btw. we are staying in a miserable hostel here where our only saving grace is managing to steal internet! wish i were somewhere cold and windy...

cuileann 11/17/2008 7:43 PM  

Tobey - Most likely German. Wish I could send you some of our wind! It gives the air the a most singular feeling - very cold and very pure, straight out of a high pale sky.

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