Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"The Excrement Poem" by Maxine Kumin (1978)

[I was perusing a Poetry Anthology for kicks and happened to chance upon this one evening. Truly, to be shared with all.]

It is done by us all, as God disposes, from
the least cast of worm to what must have been
in the case of the brontosaur, say, spoor
of considerable heft, something awesome.

We eat, we evacuate, survivors that we are.
I think these things each morning with shovel
and rake, drawing the risen brown buns
toward me, fresh from the horse oven, as it were,

or culling the alfalfa-green ones, expelled
in a state of ooze, through the sawdust bed
to take a serviceable form, as putty does,
so as to lift out entire from the stall.

And wheeling to it, storming up the slope,
I think of the angle of repose the manure
pile assumes, how sparrows come to pick
the redilvered grain, how inky-cap

coprinus mushrooms spring up in a downpour.
I think of what drops from us and must then
be moved to make way for the next and next.
However much we stain the world, spatter

it with our leavings, make stenches, defile
the great formal oceans with what leaks down,
trundling off today's last barrowful,
I honor shit for saying: We go on.

(Maxine Kumin "The Excrement Poem", as found in "250 Poems: A Portable Anthology" edited by Peter Schakel and Jack Ridl, 2003)

[Must any more be said? Never before has poetry so accurately spoken to me, nor shall it be again. Praise the poo.]