Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Deep Sorriness Atonement Song" by Glyn Maxwell

As my final poetry post for April, here is Glyn Maxwell's "Deep Sorriness Atonement Song." For anyone who has ever screwed up, this is the perfect poem to send to the person your slighted (perhaps with a gift, depending on the severity of the mistake). In it, Maxwell apologizes for missing an appointment by listing a number of historic mistakes and misjudgments but always concluding the stanza with the assertion that he is sorrier than any of those other people who messed up.

What makes "Deep Sorriness Atonement Song" particularly delightful is that it contains a number of references, which range from the obvious (Adolf Hitler, Napoleon) to the more obscure. Although a number of these are a little hard to figure out, this site includes a discussion board where people can post their interpretations and pieces of trivia to help you fill in the blanks. All in all, while this poem may not completely work if you send it to someone who isn't a poetry fan or does not have at least a passing knowledge of history and literature, it could come in handy in certain situations. At the very least, it might elicit a chuckle or distract the person you give it to as he or she goes on a mad Wikipedia/ Google hunt to figure out some of the odder references.