A n n e   W a l d m a n :   K e e p i n g   T h e   W o r l d   S a f e   F o r   P o e t r y

N a p a l m   H e a l t h   S p a :   R e p o r t   2 0 1 5 :   S p e c i a l   E d i t i o n






On the Occasion of Anne Waldman’s 70th Birthday

Our “healthy normal American Girl”


Great virtue

In the feet



even her feet are famous

—Maureen Owen


Back away from that [she said]

that money on the tree


 Must’ve been the muse talking


Look, Anne, all these poets peopling the trees!

come from your hand

and from your head

the letters of each word

made good the word bright


you leapt

fully-formed in the poet tree,    jaguary

shape sprawled on a limb, lying

in ambuscade

rushing — what?

Sometime she driveth o'er a soldier's neck,

war-stopping                       you’ll/she’ll leap––

as you know, poems

are as good as cats — agile, stealthy— but

to come back to the feet—


great virtue

in your shoes

wrote Archilochus, tho

his feet were near on naked


you sprang from 1, 2 heads, throwing the numbers around— 1-9-4-5, 2-0-1-5, as if

they were so many colors to gather from the skies,

pull down and lay before human bedlam, you

adorning the night

light-stepping thru


then 10 or 12 more

years as if they were iambs               Did you know

trochee means running? You,

toward the complicated light

leaping light-toed but with weight enough

on each day in the line of the poem

36 lambs iamb around

lying down with 34 trochees slipping through time

69, 68 — now

you’ve got all those years to run back

& forth on!  Each

syllable of each year/day lights up on its heaped hump

the way VIRTUE     shines a light on

from the face down to the feet


balancing between πρόσωπον and πόδι

(why not

throw in a little Greek—

your mother married one)

sophrosyne and andreia

wielding/yielding force