After reading Ash Wednesday
she looked once at the baked beans
and fled. Luncheonless, poor girl,
she observed a kind of poetic Lent—
and I had thought I liked poetry
better than she did.

I do. But to me its most endearing
quality is its unsuitableness;
and, conversely, the chief wonder in heaven
(whither I also am sometimes transported)
is the kind of baggage I bring with me.

Surely there is no more exquisite jointure
in the anatomy of life than that at which
poetry dovetails with the inevitable meal
and Mrs. B. sits murmuring of avocados.

  • Mary Barnard, “Remarks on Poetry and the Physical World” from Collected Poems (Portland: Breitenbush, 1979). Used by permission of the Estate of Mary Barnard.

  • Source: The Collected Poems of Mary Barnard (Breitenbush, 1979)

Poet Bio

What People are Saying

"I was surprised how attached I got to my poems. I've had "Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg" memorized since my sophomore year, and whenever I get nervous or anxious about something I recite it to myself. "
Sarah Calvin-Stupfel
2018 OR POL Champ