I, like so many others, knew Mark Strand in a small way. He was a visiting professor in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop for one of the two years I was there. When I heard the news of his death earlier today, I did what poets do. I wrote. He probably wouldn’t remember me if he was still here, but I remember him. It’s raining outside my home in California as I write this. I wonder why. I wish him well in the other Paris.
Seemingly Like Paris
for Mark Strand
They are slowly going away. The poets.
The truly genuine poets who sat
In coffee shops and conspired
To be ignored as long as they could
Manage it. Then others came
And looked at them with awe and
Asked nicely if they, too, could sit
At the table. Everything was gorgeous,
Even when the teaspoons clashed
Against the porcelain cups, and
Cigarettes were still in fashion,
And tips could be heard on counter tops.
So, it really isn’t surprising to hear
Nothing today but the wind,
Pushing bluebirds back just a bit.
They are slowly going away,
The bluebirds sing. It is
As revolutionary as old wars.
Copyright © 2014 by Sam Pereira