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We're building the ship as we sail it / Kay Ryan

Kay Ryan is an erstwhile America Poet Laureate and a Pulitzer Prize winner. But what is so delicious about her poem are the mordent inner-springs that seem to unfold in the course of reading. Little 'recombinant' rhymes within lines. Like all good poems, the second and third readings seem to unlock lots of lovelinesses. This is one of my favourites:


We're Building the Ship as We Sail It


The first fear

being drowning, the

ship's first shape

was a raft, which

was hard to unflatten

after that didn't

happen. It's awkward

to have to do one's

planning in extremis

in the early years-

so hard to hide later:

sleekening the hull,

making things

more gracious.

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5 Comments


Jane NY
Jane NY
Jun 01, 2022

WOW, just wow, as they say. What this poem says about life...Amazing,,,

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patti G
patti G
May 26, 2022

Alistair, I think you should introduce a ' poetry corner' . It would be lovely to share and learn more about this lovely writing skill.... ( I ,certainly, would like to learn more, if that's not too selfish !!) 😍❤️📝🙏

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patti G
patti G
May 27, 2022
Replying to

Hi Alistair, maybe I didn't put that suggestion very well. I didn't mean for everyone to start burning the midnight oil writing poetry, but just to post a favourite poem or even a few verses of one that struck a chord and would be good to share. I am keen to learn more about the the more modern day poets as I know so little. For instance, I have only recently discovered Joy Harjo even though she has been the US poet laureate three times. As you can see ,I need educating , big time !! 🤓📚🖋️

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Bianca Aga
Bianca Aga
May 26, 2022

Poetry to me is like a piece of art hung in a gallery and the viewer tries to see the hidden meaning.

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