Sunday, January 10, 2010

Poem of the Week: "Don't Look Back," by Kay Ryan

I wanted something short and sweet for this Poem of the Week, so I went straight to the poet who best sums up those two goals: Kay Ryan. Ryan can be a bit of a hard poet to get into, but I once saw her read at a little library in central Indiana, and she lit up everyone's cold spring night with her outgoing, slightly crusty personality. Here's a good one that feels especially poignant to me these days.

Don't Look Back, by Kay Ryan

This is not
a problem
for the neckless.
Fish cannot
swivel their heads
to check
on their fry;
no one expects
this. They are
torpedoes of
compact capsules
that rely
on the odds
for survival,
unfollowed by
the exact and modest
number of goslings,
the S-necked
goose is --
who if she
looks back
acknowledges losses
and if she does not
also loses.

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