It's National Poetry Day here in the USA, which means that even when our government shuts down POETRY LIVES ON!

Poetry: more powerful than politics.

In honor of this nice holiday, I want to share again, as I have shared before on this page, my favorite poem, by the great Jack Gilbert, who died last year. (He is no relation, though I always thought of him as my distant poetry uncle or godfather.)

The poem is called "A Brief for the Defense", and it is the most poignant and powerful instruction I have ever read on why we absolutely must seek joy desite the sorrows of our lives and despite the injustices of destiny.

Please look carefully for my favorite line of this poem (indeed, my favorite line of all literature): "We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world."

Now tell me — what are your favorite poems? Share the links, share the lines, share the love!



The Poetry Center at Smith College
A Brief for the Defense Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies are not starving someplace, they are starving somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils. But we enjoy our lives because that's what God wants. Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not be made so fine. The Bengal…

via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall