April is National Poetry Month. This year’s theme is ‘Time’… Join us, every school day throughout the month of April, for a featured poem on the theme.
I was ready for a new experience.
All the old ones had burned out.
They lay in little ashy heaps along the roadside
And blew in drifts across the fairgrounds and fields.
From a distance some appeared to be smouldering
But when I approached with my hat in my hands
They let out small puffs of smoke and expired.
Through the windows of houses I saw lives lit up
With the otherworldly glow of TV
And these were smoking a little bit too.
I flew to Rome. I flew to Greece.
I sat on a rock in the shade of the Acropolis
And conjured dusky columns in the clouds.
I watched waves lap the crumbling coast.
I heard wind strip the woods.
I saw the last living snow leopard
Pacing in the dirt. Experience taught me
That nothing worth doing is worth doing
For the sake of experience alone.
I bit into an apple that tasted sweetly of time.
The sun came out. It was the old sun
With only a few billion years left to shine.
Suzanne Buffam was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia. She completed an MA in English at Concordia University and an MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her first book, Past Imperfect, won the Gerald Lampert Award and her second collection, The Irrationalist, was nominated for the Griffin Poetry Prize. Her most recent book is A Pillow Book. She teaches at the University of Chicago.