A Very Poetry Poem for National Poetry Month – Richard Osler

A reminder of the subject of Robert Frost’s poem Birches (see below).

Two Poets Divorce
I want Cohen! No, I want him. You take Dickinson. No! I want Wilkinson.
             OK, OK, take them. I don't care. Just leave me
Gilbert, Ginsberg, Hass, Hirschfield, Hoagland. and Hughes. 

             Grass is greener when Whitman sings it. Take that! And Plath.
But I want Wah, Wallace ,Williams – C.K.,W.C., and Hugo. And the Wrights,- 
             all of them: C.D., Charles, Franz, James, Jay and Sandra. 

No, no, nothing's wrong. Above all, loud and clear, please leave me Laux
             and her Kissing and Kissing Again. Yes, Laux as in Lox
not low. And give me Lane, Lux, Dunn, Dubie and McHugh.
             Do you remember the first poet we read together? Don’t ask me. 
I don’t. But if you do, keep the book but please, leave it for the kids. 
             They like the poets, too. cummings, of course, and Olds.

But especially, they love Frost. His Birches. How they bend don't break.
             How he wants to get away from earth awhile 
 but later how he’s not so sure, wants to come back and begin over.

 No, not for anything will I begin over with you. But yes, Frost is right,
            he's right about this: Earth's the right place for love. 
And, do you remember our first sweet kiss? I have no poem for that.

Richard Osler from Hyaena Season, Quattro Books, 2016

Wasn’t planning on featuring one of my poems this national Poetry Month but after I found Tony Hoagland’s poem (featured in my April 3rd post) that included a series of poet’s names I though my poem would be a good fit to come after his!

I enjoyed being the narrator of this poem! And while it is true I was going through a divorce at the time of writing this poem the rest is  fiction except for one of the poets my two youngest daughters love: Frost and his Birches.

Not only was this poem cathartic to write I had so much fun playing with the associative music of the poets’ names. That’s what drove the poem forward. But then the poem surprised me, led me to mention Frost and then I remembered Birches which I then found and read. And the lines from that poem took me to my ending. The emotion in it surprised me.This way our poems have their way with us!


  1. Posted April 8, 2019 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Richard, I love this poem. The rhythm, the sounds, the up and down, the side by side, the struggle over poets, who get to keep what, not to forget the kids, and the ending, yes, there is always a kiss, and Frost, how the birches are separate, yet together, in the painting.

  2. Richard Osler
    Posted May 5, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    The sink you so much. So grateful for your response.

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