Saturday, December 13, 2008

In Praise of Charles Simic

In college I took a writing course with John Barth.   The TA didn't like poetry much so he selected something by Charles Simic called "The Butcher Shop" for us to read.  I didn't like poetry much either and still don't.  But I loved Simic's poem because it showed me that poetry could have power and meaning in unexpected ways.  
Bartolomeo Passerotti


Butcher Shop

Sometimes walking late at night
I stop before a closed butcher shop.
There is a single light in the store
Like the light in which the convict digs his tunnel.

An apron hangs on the hook:
The blood on it smeared into a map
Of the great continents of blood,
The great rivers and oceans of blood.

There are knives that glitter like altars
In a dark church
Where they bring the cripple and the imbecile
To be healed.

There is a wooden block where bones are broken,
Scraped clean– a river dried to its bed
Where I am fed,
Where deep in the night I hear a voice.

-- Charles Simic


Another great suggestion from Laura Lee:


Laura Lee said...


Owl Meat said...

Great idea Laura Lee. I think I'll make you an honorary Owl Meat Apocrypha muse.