An Apology for Poetry
I thought we were in a foreign country.
I was inspired by the exotic landscape.
The jagged green mountains that framed
What I had believed to be Arcadia—
That scene seemed to make all of our gestures
Meaningful, precise, and accurate.
It’s so much harder than I thought.
The music must have gone to my head.
The guitar, from which each note must be strongest
At the moment it begins, confused me,
Filling my body with notions of love
That were completely inappropriate.
I guess I wasn’t paying attention.
I know I was wrong.
The sad truth of life is that, like cuisine,
It must be destroyed to be enjoyed, used up
In its own experience. And you’re right, you’re so right,
We must eat and live each day, each day,
So the question must be: how?
Those irresponsible bastard philosophers
Who crossed my path one night in the forest
Continue pouring moonlight into the room.
I thought they meant the night of carnival
Began tonight. I hear them calling to me, like wolves.
But it’s my fault.
I didn’t realize the words I had chosen
Revealed such a deep failure to listen.
Surely you will speak to me again?
With that mischievous look in your eye?
Just give me one more chance.
I know I can temper my faith in the book of catapults,
My obsession with sunlight on a dial,
My joy in the enchantments of this theodolite,
And attend instead to our mortal days.
[from The Book of Catapults]
The author’s note on Amazon.com:
David J. Rothman is Director of the Poetry Concentration in the MFA at Western State Colorado University, and also teaches at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Denver University, and Lighthouse Writers Workshop of Denver. He is the author of three previous volumes of poetry, Dominion of Shadow, The Elephant’s Chiropractor (a Finalist for the Colorado Book Award), and Beauty at Night. Another volume of poems, Part of the Darkness, is forthcoming from Entasis and a further, Go Big, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press. He is the editor of The Geography of Hope: Poets of Colorado’s Western Slope. His essays on many subjects have appeared widely. He was co-founder and the first Executive Director of the Crested Butte Music Festival and has served as director of a number of other arts and educational organizations. He lives in Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two sons.