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Two Poems About The Imagination

Marilyn Robertson lives in California where,  in addition to  writing poems,  she also composes songs, plays the piano (ragtime) and the guitar, and sings. Maybe she also teaches in a  grammar school. Here are two of her poems about the imagination.

After Reading Rilke to the Class

It’ is still possible, I tell my students as I collect their essays,
for you to find the place that Rilke talks about:

the repository of unlived lives.
Don’t let these desks limit your imagination.

For example, I say, and I bang my pointer
against the wall map for dramatic effect,

you could be here — in Spain — tossing dogs in blankets
as the wool gatherers do in Cordoba at Shrovetide.

They look blank. But just before the bell,
a cocker spaniel sails up out of a blue bedspread.

gyrating slowly in the stuffy air, barely missing
the light fixture on its chain in the middle of the ceiling.


The Drummer

A different drummer was seen in Portland this week.
He was marching by an elementary school when
a boy, sitting at the kindergarten art table,
happened to look up as he passed.

After that, the boy could no longer follow
the teacher’s instructions: to make
a collage of colored squares on white paper.

Instead, he made a long chain of squares,
adding red to green to blue to yellow —
and gluing that chain to the very edge of his paper.

Imagine the joy of it.
The sound of the drum growing louder.
The way the man in the bright coat
swung his arms high  in the air with each beat.

And the quick smile he gave the boy at the window,
as if he knew him from another time…
long before kindergarten.

More Notes

The World Happiness Report, released by the United Nations, ranks countries on six key variables that support well-being: income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity. This year, Finland is first, followed by Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland, followed by Netherlands, Canada,New Zealand, Sweden, Australia. The United States, which has never been in the top ten, silpped down four places from last year and is now 18th. President Trump may make American Great Again, but apparently not happier.