Wednesday, July 1, 2009

"ARK" by Katie Ford

Katie Ford offers up a genuinely poignant poem in the aftermath of the New Orleans floods in her newest collection, Colosseum, from Graywolf Press (2008). “Ark” is an example of how quickly a good poem can take its reader on an intellectual and emotional journey. Ms. Ford’s use of “we” and “us” creates an intimacy and a shared responsibility for looking at the world in this way.


We love stories of flood and the few
told to prepare in advance by their god.
In that story, the saved are
always us, meaning:
whoever holds the book.

I’m reminded of these lines from Czeslaw Milosz’s Preface to A Treatise on Poetry: “One clear stanza can take more weight / Than a whole wagon of elaborate prose.”