I will never forgive Simic's condescension toward Creeley in The New York Review of Books. Here was an opportunity to be generous toward a true master, and Simic chooses uncomprehending condescension. He could have learned something from Creeley's art if he had tried.
Simic's poem isn't even all that bad, you'll say. It's exactly what they teach you to write in the creative writing class, in fact. The similes, the vague portentousness straining after the "deep image," the "all day" or "all evening" cliché, the bare branches and little lamb, the first snowflake of winter. That makes the contrast all the more stark.
The truth is dark under your eyelids.
What are you going to do about it?
The birds are silent; there's no one to ask.
All day long you'll squint at the gray sky.
When the wind blows you'll shiver like straw.
A meek little lamb you grew your wool
Till they came after you with huge shears.
Flies hovered over open mouth,
Then they, too, flew off like the leaves,
The bare branches reached after them in vain.
Winter coming. Like the last heroic soldier
Of a defeated army, you'll stay at your post,
Head bared to the first snow flake.
Till a neighbor comes to yell at you,
You're crazier than the weather, Charlie.
I can't speak so
simply of whatever
the lilac bush just
the teeming chatter
of innumerable birds--
I'd lie quiet
to go to sleep late
evenings in summer
such buzzes settling
of birds--The relatives
in rooms underneath
Listened hard to catch
faint edges of sounds
through blurs of fading
spectrum now out