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"Eating Poetry"

by Mark Strand

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.

The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.

The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.

Their eyeballs roll,
their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.

She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
she screams.

I am a new man.
I snarl at her and bark.
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.


Mark StrandIn the comical, dream-like scenes of "Eating Poetry," Mark Strand shows how art can renew us by activating the strangest and most essential parts of the self.

Unquestionably one of the foremost poetic talents of his generation, Strand grew up in the United States, Columbia, Mexico, and Peru. His 1999 collection Blizzard of One earned him the Pulitzer Prize.

Mark Strand, "Eating Poetry" from Selected Poems. Copyright © 1979, 1980 by Mark Strand. Used by permission of the author and Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.