memorial for a brilliant woman

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Poetry and Poop

Composed by john updike, just before Valentine's Day 1989 (published in the Oxford American)

“The Beautiful Bowel Movement”
by John Updike

Though most of them aren’t much to write about—
mere squibs and nubs, like half-smoked pale cigars,
the tint and stink recalling Tuesday’s meal,
the texture loose and soon dissolved—this one,
struck off in solitude one afternoon
(that prairie stretch before the late light fails)
with no distinct sensation, sweet or pained,
of special inspiration or release,
was yet a masterpiece: a flawless coil,
unbroken, in the bowl, as if a potter
who worked in this most frail, least grateful clay
had set himself to shape a topaz vase.

O spiral perfection, not seashell nor
stardust, how can I keep you? With this poem.

(and i thought the South Park boys did it first)


Tom said...

Proof positive that some poetry is about sh*t, and some is indeed sh*t.

I would consider this the former.

realitywrites said...

hi Shann -
I'm a visual artist, poet and blogger. I stumbled upon your blog via Harriet (Poetry Foundation).

I also got a chuckle reading this poem in my Oxford American (in my bathroom no less!)

Just wanted to say hi - I like your recommendations. Also, I've applied to VCU for their MFA in poetry program...still waiting acceptance/rejection. I may check back in if Richmond ends up in my future!