Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Priciples of Accounting -- in verse!

      Quarantining has turned poetry readings into Zoom events -- and that brought Pennsylvania poet Barbara Crooker to my computer a couple of weeks ago via a reading sponsored by The Word Works..  A delight for me to reconnect with someone whom I knew from my years in Bloomsburg.  Barbara -- who is a very fine poet one whose work has often appeared on The Writer's Almanac  -- has given me permission to share the following mathy poem (found in her collection, Some Glad Morning, Pitt Poetry Series, 2019).

      Principles of Accounting      by Barbara Crooker

     Nearly summer, and the trees are banking on green,
     calculating their bonuses in numerators of leaves.
     Outside my window, the crows are ganging up
     on someone, thugs in their hoodies of night.
     I'm feeling the number of days begin to feel finite,
     no longer uncountable as blades of grass. 
     So I'm rounding off clouds to the nearest
     decade; tabulating interest from the sweetness
     in the air.  I'm going for broke, in the time
     remaining, like the mockingbird letting loose
     his vocals, a Fort Knox of sound. 
     I'm going to spend it all.
     Not like our legislature, who can't pass
     a budget, letting one year roll into the next,
     while schools and social services borrow
     to pay their providers, leaving even less
     in the diminishing pot for those
     who need it the most.  Road repair, bridges,
     pre-K?  Not sustainable, say the fat cats,
     lapping up their cream.  For the rest of us,
     the dice are rigged, the loopholes big enough
     to drive a camel through.  From this distance,
     the older I get, the closer I see the hand basket
     coming.  So let me lean back in this red Adirondack
     chair as dusk makes us all equal, happy for the blend
     of herbs and gin, pure sapphire, the dividend of olive
     at the end.  Here comes the night, nothing
     we can do to stop it, except tote up the stars
     on a ledger sheet, and put every last one of them
     in the plus column. . . .

    from Some Glad Morning, Pitt Poetry Series (University of Pittsburgh Poetry Press, 2019)

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