Disappointment, NPR style.
And people wonder why I don't like doctors.

Now that's poetry.

So lately I have been trying to work more poetry into my regular reading schedule. I'm doing it the way I do everything--in a completely disorganized and unplanned manner, relying largely upon the serendipity of lucky discovery--but so far I've been enjoying myself.

Last week I became interested in the poet Sappho (after reading a Salinger novel in which she was quoted) and took a wander through my local library catalog to see what I could find. What I came up with is a slim volume called The Soldier and the Lady: Poems of Archilochos and Sappho, translated by Barriss Mills. I don't know anything about it, or who Archilochos was, but the last page of this book informs me it is only one of 400 that was printed by The Elizabeth Press. I love finding books like that. And the poetry's, well, rather blunt and lovely. Consider this:

"That bulge under your dress
makes it obvious to everyone
what you've been up to, slut.

Hipponax, the well-digger
knows all about it, and so
does your husband, Ariphantos.
(It's a lucky thing for him
he never did catch the thief
flagrante delictu.)

                            But he
had his eye on Aischylides,
the potter, while Hipponax
was getting his pick and shovel
in the door.

       Now the whole story's
showing, under your robe."*

That's a poem that'll make you sit up and take notice. I've read this book once (it's only about 40 pages long) but I'm going to read it again and just let it soak in. I've enjoyed it very, very much. Here's another poem, slightly less Jerry Springer-ish than the first: "Soul, o my soul, you're beaten down with trouble. Lift your chin and fight back against whatever torments you."

*Now that's poetry! This reminded me of the Simpsons episode where the psychiatrists are trying to get Homer to goad Ned Flanders into anger by having him read off a card that says "I slept with your wife/significant other," at which point Homer looks up and says, "now THAT'S psychology!"