A poem on the page is a script for an event that hasn’t happened yet. It’s an invitation to an ephemeral experience that comes to life when you lift the poem from the page with your eyes, and mix it with your awareness, phrase by phrase. As attention drops down the ladder of lines, something mysterious accrues. You can feel it.
Poetry originated well before the written word, as a spoken art. To carry, a poem had to be memorable. The sound and sense of a poem naturally became concentrated, spare, compelling—or it was soon forgotten. When you pick a poem that you find intriguing, and say it aloud, the experience releases that timeless intensity. What you hear changes as the sounds resonate and return to your ears and mind. Those nearby can feel it too.
Visit a few poems over and over; let them vibrate in your chest. Or collect and consider a great many poems. The practice is clarifying; you can know yourself.
Swallowing the World – New and Selected Poems
By Don Freas
Poetry | 6" x 9" | 186 pages
Trade Paper | ISBN 978-0-9725074-6-2
*Also available through Amazon UK and Europe
If you prefer, order direct from Don Freas:
I settle in the airport lounge and look
around to see if I love everyone
yet. I don't. A man has wild eyes,
spiky dark hair, rumpled clothing;
a woman looks down her nose, frowning,
stern. Another man, older, looks at me
like I shouldn't be wearing
this beret; his wife has a far away gaze,
half smile, like she wishes I was her son.
I wonder if I look like I'd rather be dead.
She reminds me of old secretaries
in the office of my father's paper mill
in Steubenville, who wished they'd
been born with my hair. I tried
not to look at their gray old-lady
helmet-hair and thought I'd pay a fortune
to keep my hair from looking like theirs.
Now the top half of my hair is gone
the rest is still curly and graying as I scan
the lounge and pronounce small judgments
on fellow travelers. It doesn't last long.
The man who looked dangerous looks
a lot like I do, and the old lady
offers me her newspaper. Soon I know
her husband is a poet, teaches at Berkeley.
I remember a poem, from Twisted Heart.