Guest poem submitted by Ajit Narayanan: Monday's poem ('My Father's Love Letters') reminded me, in spirit and in content, of this one:
(Poem #1291) The List of Most Difficult Words
I was still standing although Gabriella Wells and Barbara Ryan were too, their bodies dark against the wall of light that dull-pewter December afternoon, shadows with words that flowed so easily from their mouths, fluorescent and grievous, pied and effervescent, words I'd spelled out to the rhythm of my father's hoarse whispers during our nightly practice sessions beneath the dim bulb, superfluous, excelsior, desultory and exaggeration mixed with his Schaefer breath and Lucky Strike smoke as I went down The List of Most Difficult Words with a man whose wife had left, one son grown into madness, the other into death, my father's hundred and five-pound skeleton of skin glowing in that beer-flooded kitchen when he'd lift the harmonica to blow a few long, sad riffs of country into a song while he waited for me to hit the single l of spiraling, the silent i of receipt, the two of us working words hard those nights on Olmstead Street, sure they would someday save me.
Like a lot of beautiful poems, it's difficult to pinpoint _where_ exactly the beauty of Roberts' poem lies. Perhaps it's the sudden shift from one image to another, but nonetheless conveying, with great expressiveness, the relationship between a father and his son. His choice of difficult words isn't too bad either! Roberts is a fairly established poet, having published seven books of poetry and having won several awards. Several of his poems can be found here: http://www.worldpoetry.com/poets/roberts.len.html LEN ROBERTS, a professor of English at Northampton Community College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, has published seven collections of poetry. One of them, Black Wings, was selected for the National Poetry Series in 1989. His work has appeared in many journals, including The American Poetry Review, The Hudson Review, and Poetry. -- [broken link] http://www.press.uillinois.edu/s98/roberts.html