Monday, April 14, 2014

30 Poets/Day 14 - Linda Sue Park and Arthur A. Levine

I can remember the moment when I first read each of these poems - by Linda Sue Park and Arthur A. Levine, respectively - because they both struck me with some serious oomph. Other poems grow on me, some I never connect with, but when I read one that just zings me right away... yeah, those are good things, I tell you. So... here are two good things!

Villanelle: Why I Love Libraries
Linda Sue Park

I lose myself within the book-walled maze,
with no end to the promises in sight,
through passages to many worlds and ways.

The aisles meander pleasantly. A craze
of unread pages beckons, tempts, invites;
I lose myself. Within the book-walled maze

a googolplex of lexical arrays
for exploration flanks me left and right.
True passages to many; worlds and ways

that lead to corners sharp with turns of phrase,
and tales both commonplace and recondite
to lose myself within. The book-walled maze

reveals its pleasures slowly, but repays
the debt of time in thousandfold delight—
through passages to many worlds, in ways

mapped out by words. A sudden blink of light:
It's checkout time—they’re closing for the night.
I'd lost myself within the book-walled maze,
through passages to many worlds and ways.

©2009 Linda Sue Park. All rights reserved.
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These rules are here for your protection
Arthur A. Levine

Banging on the windowed door
to J. Carberry Middle School
the sick green tinted glass bending to my fist
I can SEE the Hall monitor
who can surely see me
though she is staring ahead
as blank and stiff as if she were the Queen’s Guard
and not a guard in Queens.

Good for her. She’s protecting the school from me
the kid who left the building
(which no one seemed to mind)
to avoid the shock and awe offensive
being carried out in our lunchroom.
I just wanted two blocks of sun.
I wanted the one close sound
to be my sneakers
squeaking their plan of escape,
to buy yogurt
and eat it with no risk of collateral damage
from the insults and objects thrown.

Oh sure, I say to her, a whisper, a breath; ignore me.
That’s original. You think I WANT
To come back in here? Well.
With my glasses and backpack
my dangerous hoodie
I’m sure I look just like a terrorist threat.
Keep me out here; yes, please.
Keep the student body safe
from sarcasm.

© 2010 Arthur A. Levine. All rights reserved.
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Yesterday we had poems from Lee Bennett Hopkins and Kurt Cyrus. Tomorrow... Mary Ann Hoberman and Eileen Spinelli.

Please click here for more information about this year's edition of 30 Poets/30 Days, including ways to follow along.

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