...or are you just glad to see me?
I've been seeking to remedy my relative lack of poetry for quite some time now, and thought that I had best do so before National Poetry Month (website, Wikipedia) came to a close. Today is Poem in Your Pocket day:
I decided to share a favorite poem with you all, but rather than an obvious choice like Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn," Coleridge's "Kubla Kahn," Henley's "Invictus," Tennyson's "Ulysses," or Ginsburg's "Howl" (which I wrote about here), I'm going to go with the work of a more outré wordsmith: the former Decider, George W Bush:
MAKE THE PIE HIGHER
by George W. Bush
I think we all agree, the past is over.
This is still a dangerous world.
It's a world of madmen and uncertainty
and potential mental losses.
Rarely is the question asked
Is our children learning?
Will the highways of the Internet become more few?
How many hands have I shaked?
They misunderestimate me.
I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity.
I know that the human being and the fish can coexist.
Families is where our nation finds hope, where our wings take dream.
Put food on your family!
Knock down the tollbooth!
Make the pie higher! Make the pie higher!
Charles Simic's optimism in "Confessions of a Poet Laureate" (NYRB) is refreshing, writing that "In a country in which schools seem to teach less literature every year, where fewer people read books and ignorance reigns supreme regarding most issues, poetry is read and written more than ever:"
Unlike my predecessors who had a lot of clever ideas, like having a poetry anthology next to the Gideon Bible in every motel room in America (Joseph Brodsky), or urging daily newspapers to print poems (Robert Pinsky), I felt things were just fine. As far as I could see, there was more poetry being read and written than at any time in our history. [...] If I were asked to sum up my experience as the poet laureate, I would say, there's nothing more interesting or more hopeful about America than its poetry.