the blood already running there

Today’s PAD challenge: take a favorite poem, change its title, and then write a poem in response to the new title.

[Source poem: A Poem for Painters by John Wieners]

A Drink for Dabblers

To start, there is no defense.

My kitchen contains no wild
fruit, no
flapping of guardian
wings, no cherished chants,

yet, when petitioned
to brew up a blessing,
I leave the drawbridge down,

so eager my fire
to be more than a brown shadow
lining a wall within the ruins
of other people’s memories.

I serve you this tea,
knowing the thirst, leaving

what will last
up to your hands and their restless
roaming. My pitcher pours
its psalms upon palms
no longer outstretched
by the time the ale foams
its promises along
the cracks of your gloves.

– pld

[Some poems are like “Greensleeves” — they become the song that slides without a second thought out of one’s fingertips during sound checks, at unattended pianos, and within collabs and improvs. I’ve riffed on “A Poem for Painters” before, and if you peeked at yesterday’s handwritten drafts, you’ll have noticed that I’d started out by picking yet another fight with Shakespeare Sonnet 116…]

4 thoughts on “the blood already running there

  1. Isn’t it? It’s netted what I consider the strongest set of responses over at the challenge so far (and the most interesting, too, since it’s fascinating to see which poems have stood the test of time with other people…).

  2. Okay, my ear loves “psalms upon palms” and my eye loves “knowing the thirst, leaving”.

    1. *rejoices at your excellent eye* — I never know when someone will pick up on me playing like that… 🙂

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