Monday, August 29, 2005

Poetry in Bloom

There's a little competition amongst our local grocery stores, it seems. Down the road in Rita Ranch, a lovely sprawling desert subdivision of red tile roofs and brown block walls, the brand-spanking-new Frye's makes liberal use of commercial-grade hardwood floors, pinpoint halogen lighting, richly vaneered bookshelves, and lushly upholstered reading chairs. This is, mind you, a grocery store.

Now Safeway up the road is completely overhauling its interior to get that deeply grained faux look, the ambience of Barnes & Noble cum global supermarket. It doesn't want to be outdone, to lose market share.

I walked into this particular Safeway the other day, impressed if not disoriented with the changes, and---stumbling through the greatly expanded floral section---I was humored and admittedly delighted to see the new, large sign: Poetry in Bloom.

Billy Collins would, I think, be proud. And Allen Ginsberg, of course, would be envious. Which of those two inspired the sign I'm not sure. I suspect it's more a variation of the "poetry in motion" cliche.

Still, it inspires me to see the recognition of poetry, if only the word itself.

And that's where my little plan comes in: I'm going to make a number of half-sheet copies of poems that fit the "Poetry in Bloom" anthology and discretely place them among the store's floral arrangements.

Why? Well, why not. I'll have to keep a somewhat regular schedule of it, I suppose, as the courtesy clerks and floral clerks (or whatever they're titled) will probably remove them as they find them. My hope, however, is that customers will find them. And who knows? Perhaps the poem, the shoppers' own little secrets, will inspire them---or at least give them pause.

And with all that ambience, perhaps Safeway will even host a poetry reading in time....

So I need your help. Send me your favorite short or relatively short "bloom" poems. They can be your own work, though I'll be starting with the heavy hitters like Mary Oliver:

Poppies

By Mary Oliver

The poppies send up their
orange flares; swaying
in the wind, their congregations
are a levitation

of bright dust, of thin
and lacy leaves.
There isn't a place
in this world that doesn't

sooner or later drown
in the indigos of darkness,
but now, for a while,
the roughage

shines like a miracle
as it floats above everything
with its yellow hair.
Of course nothing stops the cold,

black, curved blade
from hooking forward—
of course
loss is the great lesson.

But I also say this: that light
is an invitation
to happiness,
and that happiness,

when it's done right,
is a kind of holiness,
palpable and redemptive.
Inside the bright fields,

touched by their rough and spongy gold,
I am washed and washed
in the river
of earthly delight—

and what are you going to do—
what can you do
about it—
deep, blue night?

* * * *

So what sayest thou?

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

HA! You took my favorite. I'll have to think about it now...:-)