Saturday, May 09, 2009

Today, I worked on a poem

Today, I worked on a poem

struggled with recalcitrant words and stumbling phrases
for hours.  While I wrote, I did not weed the garden
vacuum the house or wash the dishes.  I did not start
the tomatoes or re-pot the African violets.  I stared
at blank white pages, scribbled and re-scribbled
the same words over and over, rearranging them,
just a little, a tweak here, a phrase there, a word added,
another subtracted.  As I worked, I worried
about how to make the poem sing and how to get the chores
done and would anyone care.  Why tackle poetry? 
Sometimes, you can't pay someone to hear or read a poem. 
If they listen, grudgingly, do they understand?  Who has time
for poetry in the face television and internet?
Could poetry matter while jobs disappear and a war rages
in Iraq.  I feel guilty.  I worry I should do something
important.  But wait, this poem would be so much better
if I just deleted that darned cliche. 

Mary Stebbins Taitt
090508-1319-1b, 090508-1300-1st

Later, when I abandoned the poem to weed the garden,
prepare dinner, wash dishes, the poem called, making distress cries
like a baby bird or squirrel, help me, I need to grow.

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