On Shelter Odes

On Shelter Odes

Maxwell Ryan
Feb 14, 2005
Untitled Document

The Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote, "Evidently the only way to find the path is to set fire to my own life." But that hurts, and I suspect isn't even really necessary. You just have to know what to bring with you if the fire finds you. And when you've chosen that one thing--or even 43 things--let us know in a poem. For the next week, we'll be accepting your Shelter Ode submissions at PoetLaureate@ApartmentTherapy.com. The author of our favorite entry will get to guest-post for a month (or, for shy types, a gift certificate for a book of poetry). Love your bedroom? Show it you care with a sestina.

Need more inspiration? Try Wallace Stevens' "Gray Room" or Emily Dickinson's "'Houses' -- so the Wise Men tell me" or, if you're despairing of ever finishing that renovation, this one from the Greek poet Constantine Cavafy:


  	Without consideration, without pity, without shame
  	they have built great and high walls around me.
  	And now I sit here and despair.
  	I think of nothing else: this fate gnaws at my mind;
  	for I had many things to do outside.
  	Ah why did I not pay attention when they were building the walls.
  	But I never heard any noise or sound of builders.
  	Imperceptibly they shut me from the outside world.


If none of those do the trick, perhaps "Poetry Despises Your Attempts at Domesticity."

And what would I save from the fire? Tough call, but I'd hate to lose my mother's baby shoe. (photo credit: Erica Harris) SGH

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