Tuesday, April 8, 2008

"Self Portrait"

I have never been a poetry-lover (poetry is another finer thing that eludes me). However, occasionally I listen to what Oprah tells me to do, and Oprah told me to sign up for the poem of the day at Knopf to celebrate National Poetry Month. You too can have a daily mini-celebration when you open your inbox!

I had not been too enthralled with the first week of poems, but today's pick struck a chord with me.

"Self Portrait" by Edward Hirsch

I lived between my heart and my head,
like a married couple who can't get along.

I lived between my left arm, which is swift
and sinister, and my right, which is righteous.

I lived between a laugh and a scowl,
and voted against myself, a two-party system.

My left leg dawdled or danced along,
my right cleaved to the straight and narrow.

My left shoulder was like a stripper on vacation,
my right stood upright as a Roman soldier.

Let's just say that my left side was the organ
donor and leave my private parts alone,

but as for my eyes, which are two shades
of brown, well, Dionysus, meet Apollo.

Look at Eve raising her left eyebrow
while Adam puts his right foot down.

No one expected it to survive,
but divorce seemed out of the question.

I suppose my left hand and my right hand
will be clasped over my chest in the coffin

and I'll be reconciled at last,
I'll be whole again.

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