“Odysseus Amongst the Swine Glances Towards Ithaca” by Dan Chelotti

Today for National Poetry Month this poem by Dan Chelotti, partly because of the poem's mythological allusion but also because of Chelotti's truism: “the only way to touch a poem is with the mouth.”

Odysseus Amongst the Swine Glances Towards Ithaca

Sometimes my flailing
burnt-by-the wind heart
grows alarmed and pushes
my sentiments aside
and in their place
grow lists enumerating
ostrich feathers and tin-can
telephones to encode
the ratification of love.

The only way to touch
a poem is with the mouth.
I put this one in yours
and yours in mine
and for a moment
the lonely air between
us is filled with birds, leaves
and contrails underlining
the honest sun
under which I fail
to embrace you,

but don’t worry, that is
all my poems are doing
these days. Know that
although my words
often overwhelm me
and I grow unable to manage
their winds, the only ships
in my heart that are listing
are listing towards your shores.

from The Boston Review

About Richard Long

I'm a Professor of English at Saint Louis Community College--Meramec, where I teach composition, creative writing, environmental literature, and poetry. I also edit 2River, home of the 2River View, the 2River Chapbook Series, and Muddy Bank. You can also follow me on my bicycle as I tour the country, self supported, at richardtreks.blogspot.com.
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