Sunday, March 14, 2010

Poem of the Week: "Misgivings," by William Matthews

Matthews is a poet I can take or pass on, depending on the day. However, this poem from his final collection After All: Last Poems, really sticks with me. The subject is something I think we can all relate to - if not with a lover, then a friend or roommate or family member (really anyone that you spend too much time with). Sometimes thinking about getting tired of the people we love is worse than the actual fallout. The final stanza of this poem is really something, I think. That final image is so arresting that it just kind of sits there in the time and space of my mind. Enjoy!

Misgivings, by William Matthews

"Perhaps you'll tire of me," muses
my love, although she's like a great city
to me, or a park that finds new
ways to wear each flounce of light
and investiture of weather.
Soil doesn't tire of rain, I think,

but I know what she fears: plans warp,
planes explode, topsoil gets peeled away
by floods. And worse than what we can't
control is what we could; those drab,
scuttled marriages we shed so
gratefully may augur we're on our owns

for good reasons. "Hi, honey," chirps Dread
when I come through the door, "you're home."
Experience is a great teacher
of the value of experience,
its claustrophobic prudence,
its gloomy name-the-disasters-

in-advance charisma. Listen,
my wary one, it's far too late
to unlove each other. Instead let's cook
something elaborate and not
invite anyone to share it but eat it
all up very very slowly.

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