Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Overread at Table 1: In Praise of Vachel Lindsay...

Just heard about this... imagine, walking around trading poems for food.

For some reason, it reminds me of the line from an Allen Ginsberg poem, "When can I go into the grocery store and buy what I want with my good looks?"

“In May of 1912, Poet Vachel Lindsay walks from Springfield, IL to CA, trading poetry for meals & lodging, preaching his poet's "Gospel of Beauty." "It's a denomination... called... the church of beauty or the church of the open sky... two rules: love of beauty and love of God.”

- Source from a tweet. Original tweeter now forgotten by me


In Praise of Vachel Lindsay

The Gospel of Beauty
is sermonized at the Church of the Open Sky,
on foot from Illinois to California,
thumbing the occasional ride,
swapping a few pithy haiku
in lieu of gas money,
and lodging, now
lodging requires something
with a bit more meat
for the dinner table:
a full-throated sonnet, perhaps,
or a villanelle,
or to be truly impressive, a sestina.

The love, the gratitude, the humility
is all right there in the words,
the rhyme, the meter,
the right choice at the right time.

Then, a pillow to lay my head,
and a morning to arise,
and perhaps a sandwich for my pack,
and I will scatter a few couplets
on the ground
like breadcrumbs,
to find my way back.


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