Answer Poems

Answer Poems

“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”
“Not just Tomorrow, But Always”

Some days ago, David (My Husband) and I were in the garage listening to old records. Records he inherited from his late father. Carole King’s album Tapestry was playing in the background, and her version of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” came on. We started talking about how sometimes artist write Answer Songs, a response song to another song. Bertell Dache wrote an answer song to “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” titled “Not just Tomorrow, But Always.” 

As the song continued to fill the dim lit room, I thought how poetry can many times be an Answer Poem. Sometimes it is as simple as our poems responding to other poems. For example, this past April, during poetry month, I found myself writing an Answer Poem to Mark Strand’s poem “Eating Poetry.” Although still a work in progress, the opening lines went something like this “I have been eating poetry/ haven’t eaten anything else/ have sat here for days/ my hair has become a nest for crows.” Other times though poems become an answer to hard questions in our life, answers to questions we refuse to answer, or answers to questions we never knew we were asking. In our poetry, we answer questions about things like our childhood, our family, grief, sadness, and love, love, love. I know my poems always seek to answer questions about my father, even though he has been gone for almost two years now, through my poems I am still trying to answer who he was. In my poetry there is also always this lingering answer to this melancholy, a melancholy that I carry with me always, and can never seem to shake. So, today, I ask that you think about the answers you find in your poetry, your writing, your life. What questions seem to always come up for you? What questions have yet to be answered? Or simply sit still, listen to what poetry has to say, because in the end, it will always reveal the truth. “Not just Tomorrow, But Always”