The latest writer in my series of new favorite poets is Jeffrey Harrison. The below work (from American Life in Poetry: Column 414) is really quite fantastic. Mr. Harrison turns a row of winter-beaten mailboxes into a ragtag band of sorry individuals. You gotta love any poet who uses the word “forlornly” (Lolly Lolly Lolly, get your adverbs here!) so well…It’s overall tone is indicative of great poetry; it transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary.
“Mailboxes in Late Winter”
It’s a motley lot. A few still stand
at attention like sentries at the ends
of their driveways, but more lean
askance as if they’d just received a blow
to the head, and in fact they’ve received
many, all winter, from jets of wet snow
shooting off the curved, tapered blade
of the plow. Some look wobbly, cocked
at oddball angles or slumping forlornly
on precariously listing posts. One box
bows steeply forward, as if in disgrace, its door
lolling sideways, unhinged. Others are dented,
battered, streaked with rust, bandaged in duct tape,
crisscrossed with clothesline or bungee cords.
A few lie abashed in remnants of the very snow
that knocked them from their perches.
Another is wedged in the crook of a tree
like a birdhouse, its post shattered nearby.
I almost feel sorry for them, worn out
by the long winter, off-kilter, not knowing
what hit them, trying to hold themselves
together, as they wait for news from spring.
Its language is lyrical and perfectly descriptive, and DOES make one “almost feel sorry for them”. I hope you like it as much as I did…Enjoy!
The full article can be found here Mailboxes in Late Winter by Jeffrey Harrison : American Life in Poetry.