Poetry Samples

You can’t force a poem to do anything it doesn’t want to do, but if it decides to do something, you can’t stop it either. —Dale Biron

I have never been able to cure myself from a feeling that good poetry is practical and useful. Like William Stafford used to say, poems are just stories without the boring parts.

On the Occasion of Speaking Out About Rarefied Poetry
(for Judy)

By Dale Biron

OK, OK, all right. I’ll tell you this much –
It’s high time poetry came tumbling down
To the crowds, to the folks I mean.
Ask me? What kind of poetry I would
Like to see in this world? Right, well imagine
A super market, the checkout man I mean,
Those thick, stubby fingers, a wedding ring
Swollen on permanent, skin thickened by hard work
Handling the groceries of thousands, reaching
For a pack of poems, right beside the razor
Blades and the cigarettes and I don’t smoke either,
But the people that do smoke need
Poems just as much as me. Yes, I want
Practical, hard working, truck-horse poems,
In this world, and ads for those
Poems too right along side the Kleenex, and the Ajax
That fill those Thursday flyers in the daily paper.
I want to see a holiday sale on William Stafford,
Yeats maybe, Mary Oliver and that fierce German,
Rilke. I want to see the CEO of Exxon
Quote Emily Dickinson in the Annual Report!
And of course in schools too, I want poetry
Vending machines, where the real thing
Isn’t sweet syrupy water, its Rumi. I want
To see scalpers working the stadium where
A football game has been cancelled for lack of
Interest, yelling, “Yo! Seamus Heaney, Wendell Berry,
Yehuda Amichai, right here, two good seats left folks.”
I want to see MTV break all those rating records
On the night they feature Anna Akhmatova.
I want to see CSPAN cover the annual convention
Of ex-congress members who are now active poets.
But most of all, and I mean most of all, its this:
I want to turn to you stunned, my mate-women, on
Any old average, candle-lit night and touching the softness that is
your body just before making love and say to us: My God! Neruda
was right, “Sometimes a piece of sun burns like a coin in my
hand” when I realize how much I love you.

from Why We Do Our Daily Practices © 2014 Pack Mule Press

No Solicitations Allowed

By Dale Biron

That year we met, I think
You really meant it, that part
About “no way” at first but then
My foot got in the door somehow
And caused quite a stir among us
Both, next a whole history happened.
There are some things so wonderfully
Mysterious that even mountains will
Not say them out loud, and they
Will simply stand there
In silence and in love
Madly with the sun and rain,
And moon.

from Why We Do Our Daily Practices  © 2014 Pack Mule Press

Your To-Do List Is Your Enemy

By Dale Biron

Forget responsibility, commitment!
Your to do list is your enemy now
or at least the friend of your enemy.
Next time run, hide, obfuscate, do
what it takes to get free. No really,

that list is like a tar baby to you,
notice how you never get loose.
It eats a thousand check marks
for just one snack and twice
that many for even a light meal.

Finish it all, smile then bask in your
goodness, a complete contented soul.
No. It’s a trap. It will never happen.
Best to dodge, weave and ignore –
go to your grave with your Visa

unpaid, light bulbs unchanged.
I tell you its better to sing that one
sweet song, that one little poem.
Let God make your check marks,
the only ones that ever counted.

from Why We Do Our Daily Practices © 2014 Pack Mule Press

Buddha’s Lips

By Dale Biron

I don’t know how you
do it, sitting there
for centuries
legs crossed
so quiet, like stone
which after all

you are
but then again meditation
is a church too, A feeling.
A day without all those normal
threats: work, family, to do list.

No one knows, after all
where dreams actually
come from, a soul, maybe summer?
I know this. Whatever it is
that makes your stone lips smile
that’s for me.

from Why We Do Our Daily Practices © 2014 Pack Mule Press

The Moral Dilemma of Yellow

By Dale Biron

Who decided on the color of traffic signals?

I’ll admit that red is an exciting color,

and it does do strange things to our

nervous system. Perhaps it was always

destined to be the color of – don’t go.

But what of green?

Why not blue or hot pink or turquoise even?

All these colors, it seems to me,

are perfectly capable of signaling the brain

to press down upon the gas pedal. But then

comes the most troubling question of all.

Why should yellow have been given the

entire burden of yield? Of slowly doing

less on purpose. Of not taking it all.

Of exercising even a modest restraint,

of asking that most irreverent and holly

question of all – how much is enough?

from Why We Do Our Daily Practices © 2014 Pack Mule Press

I Love Short Poems

By Dale Biron

I love short poems!

They sing sudden.

They dazzle dance,

or not at all.

They’re benign kamikazes,

snowflakes greeting warm

windshields then dying.

Lives being just averagely

on fire, leaves falling so

fast while sunsets blink

beautiful then vanish.

Oh yes, I love me

some short poems.

They mean quick

or not at all.

from Why We Do Our Daily Practices © 2014 Pack Mule Press

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