Poet of Things

For Francis Ponge.

Let’s go to the mute world of things, beyond the reach of the tyrannical hordes and the hordes of tyrants-in-training with their drums set to the old standard, Idea! Idea! Idea! always keeping the beat of self-proclaimed righteousness.

I’d rather listen to the drum before it’s conscripted into the service of some march or another. After that, I’ll go visit with the soap, whose songs are vivid with suds, its cheeky humor always slipping through the grasp.

I speak for no one and would never presume to ventriloquize one of these––or anyone else, for that matter. But I am drawn to their ripe quietude, each like a waiting page, like the open hand of a familiar stranger, inviting the next dance. I am, after all, a creature of language, bound by fate to remake each daily scene one day at a time, and my humble purpose is for noticing what happens at the interface between these winking syllables and these never-ending odds and ends, waiting to be new again.

***

This morning I learned that it was the birthday of French writer Francis Ponge (1899-1988), an essayist and poet associated with the surrealist movement, who famously reimagined the inner lives of ordinary things in his workI admire the gentle playfulness and generosity of his spirit.