I heard some commentators criticizing Elizabeth Alexander after the inaugural. She's the poet who had the misfortune to read her work to the frozen millions just AFTER the event they had waited for and suffered for and prayed for had finally occurred. She was put in the awkward position of asking for their attention at the very moment the happy throngs were free at last to go seek shelter and warmth and bask in the fresh glory of their participation in an historic moment.
No wonder her poem fell a little flat.
But it takes more than snarky reviews and unfortunate timing to kill good poetry.
And less-than-good poetry? Nothing can stop that. Less-than-good poetry will live forever in greeting cards and Christmas letters and blogs that sit empty until the last minute, then fill up with dull images and tired rhymes because that's what it takes to get the job done. I should know!
There is no other month so very
Long and bleak as January.
When it starts, the world is "new"
New Year, new month, new plans, new you.
But new realities set in
And start to desiccate your skin.
New frigid wind. New biting cold.
Your frozen hands start looking old
As Tutankhamun's crusty cheeks.
While January's twenty weeks
Unroll as slowly as a hearse
crawls down the street, or even worse,
the graveyard! Where they cheer, it's said,
on hearing ... "January's dead."