Carrying the Song/ Indran Amirthanayagam

(Poema para los poetas de la FipLima)

Received advice from a well-placed
source in the high court that poems
inspired by occasions, birthdays,

anniversaries, Lima’s first
international poetry festival,
don’t break the sound barrier,

will not be picked up in press
that reports to God, will disappear
as days they mark into a rose-

dipped scrapbook, destined,
if kept in order along
with birth certificates

and pictures of the first dog,
for discovery at some future date
by an eager anthropologist

wishing to create a mosaic
of a time and place, a birthday
where various unidentified poets

shuffle notebooks beside
the laureate of the day also
now unread except by a kid

told by his dad that when
he goes to Dublin not
to forget the Crazy Jane poems

or Easter, 1916, the Lake Isle
of Innisfree. Surely, I mock
the idea of tradition and

individual talent. Poets like
Tom Eliot or Yeats are read
still in the thoroughfares

but who knows for sure
unless one leaves instructions
to the kids, to remember

their dads’ books
as they steam-roll ahead
into the marketplace, their

adult dress, the first loves
that will lead to their own
reckoning with the empty page.

Indran Amirthanayagam, April 1, 2012

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