I have been reading through my new copy of Refusing Heaven, the most recent collection -- only his fourth in forty years -- from poet Jack Gilbert. I will most likely post a more considered report in the near future (those who are interested are welcome to revisit my previous discussion of the poet), but for the moment I simply want to share two very short poems from the book.
These are atypical examples of Gilbert poems, if only because they are so brief. He rarely goes over a page in length, but also rarely goes below at least half a page. In any case, these amused me in themselves and in the way in which the second appears to cast doubt on the first (which also casts doubt on itself). They also provide an excuse to post a picture of a hedgehog.
The Greek fishermen do not
play on the beach and I don't
write funny poems.
With which we may contrast this:
For Isaiah Berlin
When the hedgehogs here at night
see a car and its fierce lights
coming at them, they do the one
big thing they know.
Poor hedgehogs. Such is the curse of specialization.
If you find either of these poems amusing, that is another way in which they are atypical of Gilbert: amusement is almost never one of his poetic objects.
(Hedgehog photo by Thomas Burgey, via stock.xchng.)