Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Poem by Kevin Young

I took my Poets & Writers Club to Lenoir Rhyne University last month on a field trip to tour the campus and see a poetry reading by Kevin Young. What a lively performance! My high school students were much more engrossed in Young's choice of topic and style than even when we saw W.S. Merwin (the U.S. Poet Laureate) last semester. I now have a new favorite.

"Ode to Chicken"

You are everything
to me. Frog legs,
rattlesnake, almost any
thing I put my mouth to
reminds me of you.
Folks always try
getting you to act
like you someone else --
nuggets, or tenders, fingers
you don't have -- but even
your unmanicured feet
taste sweet. Too loud
in the yard, segregated
dark & light, you are
like a day self-contained --
your sunset skin puckers
like a kiss. Let others
put on airs -- pigs graduate
to pork, bread
become toast, even beef
was once just bull
before it got them degrees --
but, even dead,
you keep your name
& head. You can make
anything of yourself,
you know -- but prefer
to wake me early
in the cold, fix me breakfast
& dinner too, leave me
to fly for you.

from Dear Darkness (Alfred A. Knopf, 2008)

No comments: