Imagine my joy upon opening up Vijay Seshadri's Pulitzer Prize-winning volume of poems, 3 Sections, and finding this as the second poem:
Remember that family who lived in a boat
run aground and capsized
by the creamy dunes where the plovers nest?
Sea, sun, storm, and firmament
kept their minds occupied.
David Copperfield came and went,
and their sympathy for him was such
that they pitied him almost as much
as he pitied himself. But their story
is not like the easy one
where you return to me and
lift my scarred eyes to the sun
and stroke my withered hand
and marry me, distorted as I am.
He was destined to dismantle their lives,
David Copperfield, with his
treacherous friend and insipid wives,
his well-thought-out position
on the Corn Laws and the constitution.
They were stillness and
he was all motion.
They lived in a boat upside down on the strand,
but he was of the kind who couldn’t understand
that land was not just land
or ocean ocean.
Right after reading David Copperfield! Perfect.
And yes, the rest of the book is turning out to be wonderful too. My thanks to Graywolf Press for permission to reprint this.
Vijay Seshadri. "Rereading," from 3 Sections. Copyright © 2013 by Vijay Seshadri. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org