A friend recently asked me, “But what makes it a poem?” I confess I was stumped for a minute, then resorted to a fairly dry, textbook definition. This bothered me, so I went in search of a better answer. I’m not at all surprised that I found one in Mary Oliver’s A Poetry Handbook: A Prose Guide to Understanding and Writing Poetry. Oliver ends her analysis of “The Red Wheelbarrow,” by William Carlos Williams with this brilliant description:
“It is, above all, a poem that celebrates not only a momentary enchantment plucked out of the vast world but the deftness and power of the imagination and its dazzling material: language.”
Isn’t that a wonderful explanation of a poem? I have been enchanted by fresh peaches this week, and found this dazzling celebration of them to share with you today:
by Li-Young Lee
From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches
From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.
Read the rest of the poem here.
Please be sure to visit Margaret at Reflections on the Teche for the Poetry Friday Round Up.