Apr '13 29
Today I came across two poems by Vladimir Mayakovsky and I fell in love with the titles: 'Talking with the Taxman about Poetry' and 'A Cloud in Trousers'. I decided I wanted to write a poem including the two titles.

I went to this page, 'Poems for every occasion', which lists 22 rows of themes.

I selected one theme in every row (I chose the first theme in the first row, second in the second row, third in the third row, first in the fourth row, and so on).

From these I selected the most interesting and appropriate poem title; I made no changes to any title. I didn't look ahead to plan the flow, nor did I go back and select a different title to suit what followed.

Then I inserted the two Mayakovsky poem titles where I thought suited best.

The poem title itself is from the final theme ('Poems about living and human experiences'). and voilà! Poem number 29.

(I really wanted to include 'Last Night I Dreamed of Chickens' by Jack Prelutsky from the section of poems about birds but it didn't fit the flow!)

What the living do

somewhere I have never travelled, gladly beyond
the storm
I explain a few things:
a litany in a time of plague
the thread of life
the routine things around the house;
from you have I been absent in the spring,
sitting outside
by the road to the contagious hospital,
a cloud in trousers,
home after three months away,
reading Plato.
As I walked out one evening
some part of the lyric –
the testing-tree
the still life –
fat southern men in summer suits
talking with the taxman about poetry,
telling the bees,
compulsively allergic to the truth;
the sheep child
poet as immortal bird,
song of the trees
thrown as if fierce & wild.


Posted by Jennifer Liston

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