“The Art of Poetry” by Scott Owens after Larry Heath’s “Orange Moon”

Here is another poem inspired by Larry Heath’s “Orange Moon” and read at the September Art of Poetry.  This one is also a sort of “theme song” for the series as it makes claims for both art and poetry.  It might be interesting to scroll down to the last posting to see the photograph of Heath’s metalwork again and to compare the two poems written from it.

Scott Owens
after Larry Heath’s “Orange Moon”

The art of poetry is this —
this moon so bright it can light up a night
so dark you can’t see nothing
except what you can see
by the light of this moon,
so bright it can bring light straight to you
no matter where you are
what time of day or night it is
wherever you might be
when the light of this moon finds you,
so bright you can’t escape it
no matter how dark the shades you wear
no matter how big the brim of your hat
trying to shield your eyes
no matter how thick the fingers
you splay across in front of them
no matter how many different ways
you try to deny the light of this moon.

The art of poetry is this —
you may as well raise your head and look up,
you may as well take off that hat
and stand bare-headed to soak it in,
you may as well put your hands down and take up a pen,
you may as well open your eyes and realize
that there ain’t no way to escape it,
it is insidious
it is omnipresent
it is eternal
it was here at the beginning
and it will be here at the end
it is what won’t sit still inside your head
what wakes you up at night
what calls memory back from darkness
what shows you how these two things are alike
what moves you to the chair
what gives the words the shape they take
what makes you wonder how much more you could do
and just why the hell you haven’t been doing it.

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2 Responses to “The Art of Poetry” by Scott Owens after Larry Heath’s “Orange Moon”

  1. Jean Anderson says:

    You make me think of how all the arts are connected, all creativity too, in a way (maybe even gardening, farming, walking the land). There’s a lovely sense of music here as well. Good poem! Thanks for sharing it, even with far-off readers (like myself, in Alaska, a friend of Ann Chandonnet).

    Jean Anderson.

  2. Brenda Smith says:

    I love this poem. I loved it at the museum the day it was read and I love it now, and I bet I will love it every time I see it. I love how I get the feeling of this moon’s immense magnetism so clearly and so urgently.

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