As a follow-up to yesterday's poem, here is a poem written in obvious imitation of Smart's poem. I found it in a little book called Conversation Pieces: Poems that Talk to Each Other, edited by my current teacher Kurt Brown, that is a collection of poems that people wrote in imitation or response to other poems. Kurt gave his class a similar assignment, and I'll be posting my own attempt at this kind of "flattery" next week.
after Christopher Smart
by Jeffrey Harrison
I will consider my son William,
who came into the world two weeks early, as if he couldn't wait;
who was carried on a river that gushed from his mother;
who was purple with matted black hair;
who announced his arrival not by crying but by peeing, with the umbilical cord still attached;
who looked all around with wide slate-blue eyes and smacked his lips as if to taste the world;
. . .
whose deep sobs from the back of his throat bring tears to my own eyes;
who likes to be carried in a pouched sling;
who thinks he is a marsupial;
. . .
whose eyes flutter, whose nostrils dilate, and whose mouth twitches into strange grimaces and smiles as he dreams;
who is full of the living spirit which causes his body to wiggle and squirm;
who stretches his arms and arches his back and you can feel his great strength;
who lies with the soles of his feet together, as if praying with his feet;
who is a blessing upon our household and upon the world;
who doesn't know where the world ends and he begins;
who is himself the world;
who has a sweet smell.
It's enough to make you baby-hungry, isn't it? Wait, Dad, that was just a joke. A JOKE, Dad. Calm down!