Mar 13
no comments

I went to a poetry reading recently at NYU’s Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House (first time in that beautiful space). Canadian poets read from The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2010. Still thinking about this poem, by Steven Heighton-


“Some Other Just Ones”

a footnote to Borges

The printer who sets this page with skill, though he may not admire it.
Singers of solo expertise who defer and find harmonies instead.
Anyone whose skeleton is susceptible to music.
She who, having loved a book or record, instantly passes it on.
Whose heart lilts at a span of vacant highway, the fervent surge
        of acceleration, psalm of the tires.
Adults content to let children bury them in sand or leaves.
Those for whom sustaining hatred is a difficulty.
Surprised by tenderness on meeting, at a reunion, the persecutors
        of their youth.
Likely to forget debts owed them but never a debt they owe.
Apt to read Plutarch or Thich Nhat Hanh with the urgency of
        one reading the morning news.
Frightened ones who fight to keep fear from keeping them from life.
The barber who, no matter how long the line, will not rush the
        masterful shave or cut.
The small-scale makers of precious obscurios—pomegranate spoons,
        conductors’ batons, harpsichord tuning hammers, War of
        1812 re-enactors’ ramrods, hand-cranks for hurdy-gurdies.
The gradeschool that renewed the brownfields back of the A & P
        and made them ample miraculous May and June.
The streetgang that casts no comment as they thin out to let Bob
        the barking man squawk past them on the sidewalk.
The two African medical students in Belgrade, 1983, who seeing
        a traveller lost and broke took him in and fed him rice and
        beans cooked over a camp stove in their cubicle of a room
        and let him sleep there while one of them studied all night
        at the desk between the beds with the lamp swung low.
Those who sit on front porches, not in fenced privacy, in the
        erotic inaugural summer night steam.
Who redeem from neglect a gorgeous, long-orphaned word.
Who treat dogs with a sincere and comical diplomacy.
Attempt to craft a decent wine in a desperate climate.
Clip the chain of consequence by letting others have the last word.
Master the banjo.
Are operatically loud in love.
These people, without knowing it, are saving the world.

[Steven Heighton’s website here and more info about upcoming readings at the Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House here]


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.