May 6, 2011

Poetry Friday--"Please, Not All at Once"


I like to look through a book of poetry and have my eyes alight on a poem that screams, "Stop! This is the one!"

"Please, Not All at Once" by Jack Myers, did that--screamed to make me stop.

I've left markers
in places where
I've left off
reading every book
in the house,
places where
my own stray thoughts
must've overpowered me,
or what I was reading,
or wished I had said,
or maybe someone
finally got through
to me. Wouldn't it be nice
if I got up now
and checked out
all those places
where I stopped
just to see if
they were all the same
word, or ended in the
beginning of some belief
or grief, or worse,
they were all different
and it all meant nothing
like letting the cat out
just as a car bomb
goes off in Beirut
on my unplugged TV?
After forty-five years of
investigations broken
off and loaded questions,
I still don't know
if I'm complex or just
above being stupid
or if at different times
I'm both. And I don't want
an answer to this but
I ask you is it or is it not
more than enough
just to know when to stop?

(Blindsided: Poems by Jack Myers, David R. Godine, 1993)
This is me! Books all over the place with bookmarks or scraps of envelopes marking Lord knows what. I never seem to go back. Oh, well, maybe some day...

The Round-Up is being held at Family Bookshelf. Terry has been working hard to get her revamped blog operational in time for today!

Photo by Leo Reynolds.

10 comments:

  1. I know that feeling! I have book after book with a zillion Post-its marking off pages I'll probably never turn to again.

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  2. You'd better turn to it again--don't you have a deadline?

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  3. Oh, yes, that's me, too! Cool poem. And I do sometimes go back, usually by chance, and look at the pages where my bookmarks lie, and I wonder.

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  4. There was a time in my life when I could read a book from start to finish. I have no idea where it went. I, too, have bits and scraps and notes crammed in unfinished, and even barely begun, books scattered all over the house, the car, my briefcase, my purse.....

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  5. "I still don't know / if I'm complex or just / above being stupid / or if at different times /
    I'm both." Great lines. I love books with satin ribbons attached -- a kind of celebration of marking where we stop.

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  6. I'm with Martha on the satin ribbons -- or nice bookmarks. Now, if only I could remember to go back!

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  7. I love this!

    "Wouldn't it be nice / if I got up now / and checked out / all those places / where I stopped / just to see if / they were all the same / word, or ended in the / beginning of some belief / or grief, or worse, / they were all different / and it all meant nothing"

    That is such a great thought. My Poetry Friday post is here.

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  8. Yes, the marked pages in books spoke to me, too. But this spoke more:

    "is it or is it not
    more than enough
    just to know when to stop?"

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  9. The problem is, I rarely know when to stop!

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  10. This poem asks such great questions! I never thought of going back to check if there was a pattern to all the places I have abandoned books. But now that I am packing all my bookshelves and sorting the books I do see that the ones I want to give away are the ones I never finished. It turns out it's pretty easy to remember why! And some books, of course, have a post it marking something I just wanted to remember. Keeping those!

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