Maria and I wrote companion poems when we were working together in the
Bennington College MFA program. I like collaborating on poems with
friends, always have. The habit goes back to my undergraduate years at
Columbia. Writing companion poems, or request and reply poems, or poems
exchanged in lieu of correspondence, is an intrinsically enjoyable
activity that can serve as a useful pedagogical exercise (or as an act
of friendship). It's unusual inasmuch as the intended readership begins
with twoand can also end there, with no loss of pleasure to the
authors, though on occasion, the products would seem to have a public
dimension. Perhaps this is one of those times. We hope so!
by David Lehman
with thanks to Maria Leng
If Maria is to aria as David is to avid,
I will miss reading her
I will misread her
And then I will put the log back in eclogue,
The am in drama, the Poe in poem.
Let us edit the meditation of Mia
who remains missing-in-action
but whose aim is Miami.
From open to nope,
lose the c as you close the door.
Do not go to Shelley's hell, or Hellas.
Read Coleridge, who got rid of the moral
but kept the tale. Avoid Lowell, unwell.
Lake Como's the place to read Blake.
Do you hear the no in noise, the hat in what?
Arnold is best saved for old age.
When the leaves turn brown, think Browning.
My pop loved Pope. In his mind,
Whitman was a violin-case-carrying hit man.
Frost (minus the biographical rot) gives me chills.
When you tire of satire,
say no to novels Russian
and yes to the essays of Emerson,
think of Ben Jonson's son. Then
put the elf back in self. Rhyme me.
I Kiss The Scarlet
by Maria Claire Leng
Thank you for the A without the Bash
A grade of B would thwart my All
Utter C shuts the Lamp
My D you are Avid for adventure
But I'll not tempt E to We
The F like value Locks
The appropriate G to suit my Age
To be an H that's Altered
I test the Con
J Am I when faced with janus
As K, I move towards your Edge
To think our L is Over
This M is blind to Other
You give me the N, Omem Conservadum
O unconscious stop this Mission
The P of poetry birthed its Ounce
It's only Q the variant of Choir
It's the R you Ode
The S that just Aint
It's the T that's Aught
U and me the foolish Nit
Oh my V of love, I Indicate
W to Ink, Y to Earn
Z, what do you make of Eros?