A Poem


I like this poem. It’s different.

The New Poetry Handbook
by Mark Strand

1 If a man understands a poem,
he shall have troubles.

2 If a man lives with a poem,
he shall die lonely.

3 If a man lives with two poems,
he shall be unfaithful to one.

4 If a man conceives of a poem,
he shall have one less child.

5 If a man conceives of two poems,
he shall have two children less.

6 If a man wears a crown on his head as he writes,
he shall be found out.

7 If a man wears no crown on his head as he writes,
he shall deceive no one but himself.

8 If a man gets angry at a poem,
he shall be scorned by men.

9 If a man continues to be angry at a poem,
he shall be scorned by women.

10 If a man publicly denounces poetry,
his shoes will fill with urine.

11 If a man gives up poetry for power,
he shall have lots of power.

12 If a man brags about his poems,
he shall be loved by fools.

13 If a man brags about his poems and loves fools,
he shall write no more.

14 If a man craves attention because of his poems,
he shall be like a jackass in moonlight.

15 If a man writes a poem and praises the poem of a fellow,
he shall have a beautiful mistress.

16 If a man writes a poem and praises the poem of a fellow overly,
he shall drive his mistress away.

17 If a man claims the poem of another,
his heart shall double in size.

18 If a man lets his poems go naked,
he shall fear death.

19 If a man fears death,
he shall be saved by his poems.

20 If a man does not fear death,
he may or may not be saved by his poems.

21 If a man finishes a poem,
he shall bathe in the blank wake of his passion and be kissed by white paper.

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6 responses to “A Poem

  1. Looks like I am still a foreigner. I found it’s hard to fully understand the underline meanings. I can sense something is hiding behind the lines. But, I just don’t have enough social contexts to figure those out.

  2. bigapple – Your not alone. i guess that is part of poetry. Interpret any way you think or feel best.

  3. make it the three of us…

    not fully understanding it didn’t keep me from enjoying it though

    I think lots of times a poem is just a free spirited expression of the poet himself and his creative mind. To him (or any writer), the most important thing is to express, not to explain.

    Therefore, here’s how I understand this poem (actually, he told us in the beginning sentence):

    “If a man understands a poem, he shall have troubles.”

    :-D

  4. Hello, I would like to invite you to join; The Poetic Voice Community. It is a writer’s site where you can enter contests – add poetry and get feedback. The latest entries are listed on the blog posts. Click on link, and check us out! Then join, and post.

    Website: http://poeticvoice.ning.com/

  5. Touchdown! That’s a really cool way of pttunig it!

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