poem index

About this Poem 

"Music is my first language; language was my second language. Since my childhood, I liked to tear up language and put things back together like a broken ashtray. I grew up in a family of musicians, and my father preferred Bach and Rodin to science. This poem was inspired by love, the ocean and the doomed donkey in Robert Bresson’s film, 'Au hasard Balthasar.' My favorite artists—Johns, Guston, Porter—are figurative, abstract, secular and sacred at the same time. You can call me a miniaturist, but I love putting long sequences together more like chamber music or unaccompanied sonatas. I tried to keep this poem as simple as childhood despite references to Hölderlin, Tennyson, and the sorrows of love, and illness. I forget a lot but not my childhood. It’s hard to remember when it’s so good to forget. My favorite medium is eraser fluid and the human voice. Dear reader, if poetry weren’t music, how could there be songs?"
—David Shapiro

Poem for You

David Shapiro

I am jealous of the sand

beneath you
 around you
what you see

bright things   erased lady
sparkling and traveling without luggage
before X
you are tattooed on my back    music
dies down

I too grew up in
the soft hands
of the gods

and a little donkey will lead them

Tears, tears, and I know
just what they mean
honeysuckles at night

I wrote this poem for you and haven't lost it

Copyright © 2013 by David Shapiro. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on December 16, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

David Shapiro