For this week’s Poetry Potluck and Inspiration Buffet, I invite you to come sit a the table with my family.  Maybe we can offer a spark, maybe we can stir some new poem from your heart.

We welcome you to bring your best dish to the table.  All poets are welcome to post one poem in the comments, be it one sparked by this week’s inspiration buffet, or not.  We welcome you to share.  We hope that together we can feed each other well.  (To understand more about our Poetry Potluck and Inspiration Brunch, just click here.)

… The Buffet…

Here the official video made available by the artist Peter Gabriel:

Here a blending, perhaps copyright violating, yet certain to give goosebumps and haunt you mix of Anne Sexton’s voice reading poetry with Peter Gabriel singing.

It was years after I heard and loved and felt deeply the words of “Mercy Street” that I learned of it’s connection to Anne Sexton.  I did not need that information to know it was a song that spoke to and of a poet.  As both a poet and the daughter of a mechanical engineer, the lines “All of the buildings and all of the cars were once just a dream in somebody’s head” seem to explain the world in the exact way I had always known it.

I was the daughter of an engineer.  Technically, the daughter of a “designer’s draftsman” since my father had no college education or degree.  Still, my father designed many things that never before existed, one of  them being the freight elevator in the World Trade Center.

Never before had any elevator risen so high or with the capacity to carry such weight.  He found a way of making it work not by enhancing new technology, but instead by expanding the use of older mechanisms.  He went backwards to move things forwards.  He taught me that imagination mixed with information is the formula for creation.

Another line that crawled into my spine, “words support like bone.”   I am all too familiar with the concepts of support beams and structural integrity, but unlike my father, the mathematics of mechanical design eluded me.  Instead, I learned to build, to invent with words.  All my life attempting to assemble  words as solid as steel support beams.  I have yet to design my great freight elevator.

My father worked with wood and metal and concrete.  I work with ink and paper and metaphors.

It is not a far stretch between engineer and poet.  We do the same work.

My father is almost 80.  He worked 20 years for Otis Elevator before the layoff came and then he found employment here and there and then over there – for nearly 45 years he worked as a mechanical engineer.  Nothing he designed carries his name.  No one knows it was his mind, his imagination that engineered the freight elevator of the fallen Twin Towers and countless other things.  His creations are all credited to the companies he worked for.

The pen in your hand, the hubcap on your car, your front door –  Everyday we live our lives using things imagined by people whose names we will never know.

As poets, we may not be paid well or at all, but at least our creations carry our name.

Welcome to the table.  Enjoy the feast.
-Ann Kestner