Friday, February 27, 2009

The Woman Who Ate Light, a poem by Bill Meissner.

Bill Meissner is the Director of Creative Writing at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota and the author of six books. His writing has appeared in more than 200 journals, magazines and anthologies. His numerous awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, a Loft-McKnight Award in Poetry, a Loft-McKnight Award of Distinction in Fiction, a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship, a Jerome Foundation Fellowship, and five PEN/NEA Syndicated Fiction Awards.

Meissner's hobbies and interests include travel, rock & roll music, and sports, especially baseball, football, frisbee, and snorkeling. He is the proud owner of (approximately) 21 manual typewriters, including his surviving Royal Quiet De Luxe, upon which he types letters and commentaries on his students' poems and stories.

I've always particularly liked this poem of his.

The Woman Who Ate Light by Bill Meissner.

Each evening she set her alarm to ring just before sunrise.
She was ready to break the first ray of light
in half and eat it,
a long yellow loaf of bread.

But years of waiting through the long blackness
made her anxious,
so one night she twisted the bright light bulb
from the ceiling
put it in her mouth.
This is not as good as light, she thought,
but it will do until dawn.
She chewed and chewed
on glass and filaments,
savored them
until she tasted sweet juices.

Her friends told her she should live on darkness instead,
because nights last longer than days.
No, she answered, light
has a better flavor.
Some day I will give birth to light, she told them,
some day I will raise a whole house full of it.

They laughed at her, but she is happy
just to lie in her bed at night
and watch the smooth round skin
of her stomach glowing, growing.


Anti-Laureate said...

A very enjoyable poem

john cotter said...

glad you liked it.......