Norbert Krapf:
Three Poems

The Test

Piss in my pot,
said the Zen master,
so I can see how
pure your poetry is.

Lingua Americana

I am learning to say
some Spanish with my tongue
but my heart and voice are American
and my throat is German.

The Catfish and the Poem

Like a catfish, I love bottom,
need both earth and water, feel
around with my whiskers. I do rise
toward the surface but always turn
back down.  When I am hooked
and pulled up out of my element,
I heave and gasp in air where water
should be, like a heart pumping
but cut off from arteries, a poem
with no reader to channel blood into,
a denizen of the depths turned ugly
and lame in a shock of sunlight.

Norbert Krapf, Indiana Poet Laureate 2008-10, is the author of the recent poetry collections Sweet Sister Moon (2009), Bloodroot: Indiana Poems (2008), and Invisible Presence (2006), as well as the prose memoir The Ripest Moments: A Southern Indiana Childhood (2008). He has a jazz and poetry CD with Monika Herzig, Imagine – Indiana in Music and Words (2007) and was part of the Hoosier Dylan show that played in old theatres in Indiana. As IPL, his mission was to reunite poetry and music (song). He lives in Indianapolis. Visit his website: www.krapfpoetry.com.


  1. I love Norbert's poems, especially The Catfish and the Poem. Thanks so much for posting them. His poetry brings life to my heart. And his books are worth the read.

  2. Yeah, the Catfish and the Poem just embodies for me my whole love of words and shapes and sounds and meanings. Love the voice here. It gives real hope to all things poetic in this world.