Sunday, February 14, 2010

Poem of the Week: "Flirtation," by Rita Dove

I figured I might as well post a love poem in response to today's celebration of Valentine's Day. Unfortunately, I've never been one for love poems. Not because I'm bitter or even because I'm cynical. I just think most of them sound the same. The only ones I like are the ones that are extremely specific to a moment or event, and even those get old after awhile. So for today's poem, I wanted something short, sweet, and simple. Luckily, the Poetry Foundation's website was here to help. (Side note: If you are looking for a poem for any occasion, the Poetry Foundation's Poetry Tool is an absolute one-stop shop. They've done an awesome job putting it together.) There, I found this lovely little poem by Rita Dove, one of my favorite living American poets. I hope you enjoy the day, whether you're celebrating V-Day or not.

Flirtation, by Rita Dove

After all, there’s no need
to say anything

at first. An orange, peeled
and quartered, flares

like a tulip on a wedgewood plate
Anything can happen.

Outside the sun
has rolled up her rugs

and night strewn salt
across the sky. My heart

is humming a tune
I haven’t heard in years!

Quiet’s cool flesh—
let’s sniff and eat it.

There are ways
to make of the moment

a topiary
so the pleasure’s in

walking through.

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