The Outdoor Poet: Sholeh Wolpé

How Hard is It to Write a Love Song

 Last night a sparrow flew into my house,
crashed against the skylight and died:
I want to write a love song.
Poppy seed cake on china plate,
tea like auburn gold, the New York Times
open on the table, black with news,
and the man I still love with me.
The newspaper says in Conakry a man is
sticking his Kalashnikov into a woman. Now
he’s pulling the trigger.
Hummingbirds zip through the garden.
My lover slowly rocks in the hammock,
a spy novel on his stomach.
I flip a page and a Nigerian soldier
shoots a man because he’s parked badly,
and takes the dead man’s hat.
The bougainvillea has burst into pinks and reds,
the colors of Kabul’s sidewalks after a suicide attack.
The child next door squeals with laughter.
How hard is it to write a love song?
A little in-the-moment swim,
a bit of Bach—perhaps.

About The Writer Sholeh Wolpé was born in Iran, and spent most of her teen years in Trinidad and the UK before settling in the United States. Sholeh is a recipient of 2014 PEN/Heim Translation award, 2013 Midwest Book Award and 2010 Lois Roth Persian Translation prize. Her eight publications include three collections of poetry, three anthologies and two books of translations. Her most recent publications are: Keeping Time with Blue Hyacinths and Breaking the Jaws of Silence: Sixty American Poets Speak to the World. She lives (mostly) in Los Angeles.

The Outdoor Poet is edited by Robert Sward, author of numerous books of poetry including, most recently, New and Selected Poems: 1957-2011 (Red Hen Press). He lives on the Westside with his wife, the artist Gloria Alford, and a poodle mix named Cosette. Participation in The Outdoor Poet is by invitation.

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