Eating Poetry by Mark Strand

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I hadn’t heard that Mark Strand had died a couple of months ago. I came across him on a CBC podcast about a decade ago while driving home to visit my parents. He was really interesting, and the poems he read were fantastically absurd, so I picked up his latest collection at the time, Man and Camel.

I wasn’t in love with that particular book, but I did find a few of his poems online that I quite liked. This one always stuck with me. Perfect for those whose bookish appetites have ever been met with looks of bewilderment.

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.

The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.

The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.

Their eyeballs roll,
their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.

She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
she screams.

I am a new man.
I snarl at her and bark.
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.

— Mark Strand, Eating Poetry

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