Monday, April 03, 2006

Poetry Month

In honor of poetry month, here’s one especially for Bud who’s been battling rats!

The Rats by Georg Trakl (1887-1914)

In the yard the autumn moon shines white,
The roof-edge drops fantastic shadows;
A silence dwells in the empty windows
From which the rats now quietly plunge

And flit about, squeaking, here and there;
A grayish misty exhalation
From the outhouse sniffs after them,
Spectral moonlight trembling through it,

And the rats brawl avidly as if mad
Filling up the house and barn loft
Already full of grain and fruit,
Icy winds whimper in the yard.

I came across this wonderful, spooky little poem in John Hollander’s collection, Animal Poems for young people. It’s got challenging, lovely poems by great poets and vivid lovely illustrations that bleed to the edge of every page, giving the book extra intensity. Simona Mulazzani did them.

I love the way the poem does not quite tip its hand about its attitude to the rats: there’s more sympathy for them than I generally have, but they are still spooky, mad, scary—even the wind seems a bit afraid of them.

If you go to the Academy of American Poets’ website you can, as I have done, sign up for a poem a day to be delivered to your email in box all month. Strangely, humorously, a glitch in their system led to the delivery of twenty copies of Louise Gluck’s wonderful “A Myth of Devotion” on Saturday. At first, I thought it an April Fool’s joke! They seem to have fixed the error and I’ve just gotten one since.

Enjoy the poetry. Steer clear of the vermin!

3 comments:

Bud Parr said...

Ah, rats. I can afford to be sympathetic toward them now, as it seems they're all dead, the little bastards!

Colier said...

Reminds me of Willard. I've got some around the house. Every time one gets caught on a glue-pad I feel guilty.

A.L. said...

Had a smell I couln't find in a house that I'd built and was only partially completed. Turns out the vermin (field mouse)had crawled into an electrial outlet and you know the rest. Took me months to figure out where the odor came from. Great blot site.