Ode to Sharon Olds
Ode to Sharon Olds
Dear Sharon, I see no end
To the rant of an educated mind
Once the pen is moving. I've seen A students
Butcher my writing. I remember the Fall
Of 2009, the poetry workshop at Stony Brook University,
The hipsters and emotional braggers
Eying my work and telling me what it was about
While the smirk on my face concealed
The howls of piteous laughter.
I walked the solemn paths
Of that heavily decorated school
Where trees had been uprooted
And replaced by foster bushes,
Convinced that my English professors
Do not know how to read, but only how
However, I also remember the A on my report.
It was the proudest one I'd ever had,
And I thought of the first day of class
When we were asked to choose a poet
To fall in love with.
I thought of the summer of 2006
When I walked into a little book store in Hampton Bays,
Pointing my freckle tipped nose at the poetry section,
Looking for something new
To look up to or somebody else
To look into.
I picked through the leaves of Blood, Tin and Straw
By the shelf, at the register and on the way to my car.
I read it to friends and perfect strangers
As a devout fan and penniless salesperson.
I did not take notes or scribble on the pages.
I did not create bull- in the hopes to expound
Some undiscovered truth
Between the style and context.
I did not uncover the root of your sorrows and joy,
For you had already done the task
Mrs. Olds, you and I find solace
In a dying art. I see you as a friend
As I've seen you as
A lover, a mother, and a mentor
Through the gift of a vivid imagination
Where I've been given the chance
To love and applaud your work
In the comfort of my room,
Under the flickering light
Where the renditions of your heart
Lure me to sleep
As a silent lullaby.
It is an artist like you who keeps me writing.
It is knowing the chances,
That if my words can reach a soul
Like yours have reached mine,
Then there is still purpose in contemporary poetry
In my home, my heart, and my spirit
Outside of the classroom.