Saturday, December 27, 2008

Poem to Poet













Poem to Poet


"If you don't mind," the poem said
to the poet, "I'd prefer not to begin
with a vivid description of place,
a surreal image, or an attention-grabbing
statement." "As a matter of fact,"
said the poet, "I do mind. I write you.
Your job is to stay written." "But
not published?" said the poem.
"Ouch," the poet said. "And,"
continued the poem, "poetry--
that's me--is not a matter of fact.
Facts are like weights you attach
to the corpses of dead poems so
they'll sink." "In a marsh?" asked
the poet, trying to be helpful.
"Sure. Whatever--a marsh," the
poem said. The poet inhaled
substantially, held the breath,
and let it go. "Fine, then," said
the poet, "how might you begin
yourself?" "Your inquiry sounds
insincere," the poem said. "Don't
change the subject," replied
the poet, "or are you all talk
and no poetry?" "Okay," said
the poem, "this time I'd like
to begin with a question--this
way: 'Why do washed clothes
dried outside in sunshine
smell so extraordinarily fine
that I when I release them
from the line, I plunge my face
into the clothes and sniff them?'"


Copyright 2008 Hans Ostrom
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