Thursday, February 26, 2009

Poetry Friday

Uncollected Ghazal
Michele Elliot

I used to collect people but now I collect things.
People became unmanageable, so now I collect things.

The easy way out is, I am nothing.
I have nothing, so I collect things.

Like sounds and words and laughter
The uncollected, I collect these things.

I collect vision and dancing- lines blurring, beautiful
I have nothing to hold this in, but still, I collect things.

Like rainstorms and broken dream,
Whispers and eyewinks- these precious things.

I am no one and nothing.
I am everything and urgent. I collect things.

Like silence and tears,
And loss. Oh, these precious things.

I used to collect people but now I collect things.
I have nothing to hold you in so now I collect things.

from Cave Canem Anthology 2002. This is by far one of the poems I recite most often. I love the sounds, the rhythm and the meaning here. This poem affected me instantly, the first time I read it. I wish I could thank Ms. Elliot personally for putting into words what I have felt.

Each week, poets and poetry readers share selections for Poetry Friday. To read more go here.


Cloudscome said...

This is the first time for me reading this lovely poem. You are right - it is musical. It appeals to me as a photographer; so many things to collect in images! Thanks for sharing it.

Claudia said...

I enjoyed reading this. I also like the rhythm of the poem and the idea of collecting the "uncollected" is worth a moment of reflection. But what's your thought on her use of the term "things"? I immediately think of a kind of possessive objectification - but its clear that Elliot wants to turn that on its head, right? Because you can't exactly possess an "eyewink." It's intriguing... my first time reading this, so that's my initial thought. Thanks for giving me something to think about!

Jacqueline said...

Nice reminder to remain present to the present. I also liked it's musicality.

Mary Lee said...

I was a little worried, initially, at the concept of "collecting things." But as the poem went on and I saw how she defines *things*, I was okay. More than okay, actually -- loving it!

Kelly said...

That was a beautiful poem. Love how "things" turned out to be precious moments!

Kelly Fineman said...

Loved this line in particular: "I am everything and urgent. I collect things."

Thanks for sharing this one!

Khaled KEM said...

Thanks for the poem of Friday. I enjoyed also your poem (the sound of my voice). I am glad to find your blog.

susan said...

Hi Khaled, Thanks for coming by and your kind words.

Anonymous said...

i thoroughly enjoyed the rhythm and the flow :)

take a peek into mine at

anthonynorth said...

An unusual poem, but I liked it.

floreta said...

thank you for sharing. i am not familiar with many poets.

Megha said...

Thanks for sharing...
Nice to read

SAS said...

It's got an interesting cadence. I like it.