I have never been a big fan of poetry. If I have trouble sleeping, give me some Shakespearean sonnets. I don’t mind e.e. cummings, Edgar Alan Poe, a number of the beats, and Emily Dickinson, but outside of that small group’s work poetry just doesn’t do it for me.
However, I heard a poem on The Writer’s Almanac a few days ago that could have been written by someone listening in on me and Matt at the breakfast table. It was short, but it was riveting. The next time I went to the library I looked it up online and contacted the publisher for permission to reprint it here in full.
What Have I Got to Complain About
by David Budbill
We’ve got enough money now not to worry every minute
about where the next dollar is coming from.
We even go to the movies once in a while.
We’ve got a nice collection of friends.
Our house is sturdy and well built.
It keeps us warm and stands well against the storms.
The larder is full of rice.
There are plenty of potatoes down cellar.
The freezer is full of vegetables I grew myself.
In the face of all that, slights to my vanity
seem frivolous and nonsensical.
What have I got to complain about?
Now that’s poetry.
“What Have I Got to Complain About” by David Budbill, from While We’ve Still Got Feet. © Copper Canyon Press, 2005. Reprinted with permission.