n's comments to my earlier post made me think of this lovely little Gilbert poem:
When the King of Siam disliked a courtier,
he gave him a beautiful white elephant.
The miracle beast deserved such ritual
that to care for him properly meant ruin.
Yet to care for him improperly was worse.
It appears the gift could not be refused.
- Jack Gilbert, 'In Dispraise of Poetry'
Gilbert is turning out to be my poet of the month, by the way. I especially love his shorter poems, the lightness of touch with which he manages to express a difficult idea, the almost Zen quality of his work. I'm reminded, some times, of Carver, only Gilbert is so much more concise.
This poem comes from the collection: Monolithos: Poems, 1962 and 1982.