Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday Poem: "Question"


by May Swenson (1913-1989)

Body my house

my horse my hound

what will I do

when you are fallen

Where will I sleep

How will I ride

What will I hunt

Where can I go

without my mount

all eager and quick

How will I know

in thicket ahead

is danger or treasure

when Body my good

bright dog is dead

How will it be

to lie in the sky

without roof or door

and wind for an eye

With cloud for shift

how will I hide?

Swenson's poem is notable for its extended question, metaphors, and spritely sadness. Swenson knew how to shape a line. The body acts and shelters. I remember reading advice about writing poems; don't ask questions was among the suggestions. So much for that!

Tuesday Poem is an inclusive community of poets.


  1. Mim, dear, I've always adored this lovely bright-edged poem. I'm so very glad you posted it. It deserves to be better known!

  2. This is wonderful! It's sad, but anyway...
    I didn't know it before.
    "So much for that"; no questions... :-)
    these questions simply explain a not-defined but basic feeling

  3. it's gorgeous. break the rules all of them. it's the only way to be original. swensen know how.

  4. These questions were for sure able to keep me awak at 03.40 in the morning. Thank you for sharing, as I did not know the writer before.

    Please have a wonderful Wednesday.

    barefoot navigation

  5. wonderful how she spins the question out until the answer becomes immaterial.

  6. The sense of sadness and abandon overwhelmed me. Not that I minded, by the way. Why is it that most poems about houses or even likening houses to bodies sound so ominous? My favourite is the late Cuban poet Dulca Maria Loynaz's 'Ultimos Dias de una Casa'. It's one of the most heart-rending pieces I've ever read in my life.

    And now, time for some good news, too. The debate about feminism is live on my blog now. Many thanks for taking part in it.

    Greetings from London.

  7. Susan, yes by the end one doesn't ask for answers.
    Cuban, I'll check in right now and see what's happening at your blog; will also find Dulca Maria Loynaz's poem.

  8. 享受你自己的生活,不要與他人相比。 ..................................................

  9. I keep coming back to have a look at this.

    Yes, the questions. I do not like the shoulds or should nevers.