This first one I found posted outside the office of a wonderful Shakespeare professor, while visiting my son's future college these past few days:
The Revised Versions
Even Samuel Johnson found that ending
unbearable, and for over a hundred years
Lear was allowed to live, along with Cordelia
who marries Edgar, who tried so hard
to do the right thing. Don’t they deserve
some happiness, after all that suffering?
So Antony keeps his temper, takes Cleaopatra
aside to say: no more games, dear,
we need to talk this through. And Hamlet?
Send him back to school to learn
no one ever really pleases his father.
And while he’s reading he’ll remember
how pretty Ophelia was, how much
she admired his poems. It’s not easy
being king, having to worry every day
about the ambitions of your friends.
Who needs a bigger castle?
Let’s sleep on it, Macbeth might tell his wife,
wait and see what comes along.
And Othello should have a friend to explain
it’s natural for newlyweds to quarrel,
especially if the bride is so much younger.
Why not make what you can of love?
It’s what we want for ourselves,
anxious to avoid another scene, and wary
of starting a fight, having suffered
through too many funerals and heard
how eloquently the dead are praised,
who threw their lives away.
- Lawrence Raab
And this one is one I wrote a year or three ago:
I just spent an hour
and two hundred dollars
in the grocery store
I came home with bananas
and no milk which is what I needed
but with a memory
that a friend once spent
two hundred dollars
on a car
true, it had no floor
and no brakes
but he was young and it was a car
and he had places to go
and no need yet for a floor
or milk, or brakes
Theodore Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) had some good advice re poetry for writers:
Write a verse a day. Not to send to publishers but to throw in wastebaskets. It will help your prose. It will give it swing.
I think reading them is pretty useful, too. And having one in your pocket seems just plain prudent. Like having a tissue, or a mint, maybe some floss. Because what if you need one?
So -- got a poem to share, your own or a favorite by someone else?