Poet's Choice: By Robert Pinsky

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Why is so much poetry gloomy?

There are many good answers to that question. Any day's newspaper is full of them. Shakespeare, mythology and the Bible are not always cheerful. And happiness is very hard to write about convincingly. So is delight. But Galway Kinnell manages a successful catalogue of redeeming delights in "Why Regret?" the final poem in his new book:

Didn't you like the way the ants help

the peony globes open by eating the glue off?

Weren't you cheered to see the ironworkers

sitting on an I-beam dangling from a cable,

in a row, like starlings, eating lunch, maybe

baloney on white with fluorescent mustard?

Wasn't it a revelation to waggle

from the estuary all the way up the river,

the kill, the pirle, the run, the rent, the beck,

the sike barely trickling, to the shock of a spring?

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