This past week was abnormally full of poetry, more than ever before. Consequently, I did not know what to post as the weekly poem. Virtually everyone was in my head, from William Wordsworth through Langston Hughes to Louise Glück. In the end, I picked out someone not as famous: St. James Wood. I discovered his poem on Verse Daily in mid-2005.
And though this isn’t hell, it’s in the suburbs,
where the houses aren’t on fire, but smell of mold,
and the buses don’t explode, but are late and lost.
And though this isn’t hell, it’s maybe a cousin
who doesn’t torture animals, but dresses them up,
or a woman who hates you and eats cigarettes.
This isn’t hell, but it knows all about hell,
and about the subtle road to your heart.
Here, no one is likely to buy your soul—
there is no interest in it whatsoever.
St. James Wood
Issue 15, Spring/Summer 2005