I'm going to dip into National Poetry Month with a poem that fits my poetry reading style--that is, one that is at least pretty straightforward in its approach to what it is saying. That's to say, I'm a pretty horrible reader of poetry. I need poems that grab a 2x4 and hit me over the head so it's plain and clear what they are saying (though I also always assume this means that there are 2 or 3 brilliantly executed underlying meanings that I'm completely glossing over).
Sandra Kolankiewicz's chapbook, Turning Inside Out, was published not too long ago by Black Lawrence Press. It contains nineteen poems, including one titled "Keeping Pigeons." This poem was inspired (per the footnote at the bottom of the page) by an article that Kolankiewicz read from the February 13 and 20, 2006 issues of The New Yorker, authored by Susan Orlean.
Once you begin to read the poem (and I've typed out the first of four stanzas below), I think it becomes clear that there is a very specific thing being written about--pigeons and the keeping of them, and the things that if you knew before you began that might actually keep you from ever beginning to raise them.
If you knew about having to keep the loft,
how they need perches, baths, enriched feed,
fresh water twice a day or else they weaken,
Would you ever get started?
If you had been warned that the bright
feather speckles on those white grizzled chests,
that product of all that breeding,
would forestall vacations,
sometimes bring disease,
or that raising them would fall under threat of regulation,
even become forbidden,
against the law in some places,
While there is still a nice rhythm when this poem is read aloud, there is also what appears to be a simple purpose behind the words as well. Again, I may certainly (and most probably am) be missing some underlying ideas as well, but was able to enjoy this simply if it's only a poem about keeping pigeons.