The Poet's Calling


Outside, dawn languidly awakens.

Dark awnings draw back upon glass.

Locked doors squeal open. Workers punch

mute time clocks. The untutored day begins.

I smooth pages from yesterday’s writings,

linger over short stanzas. Like an epidemic,

red marks mar the text, cluster in fields

of anxiety and doubt. Rash errors in Eden.


Poems breed like fleas in a bubonic plague,

carrying germs of creativity and art, calling

comrades in arms to critique only intent,

never the pauvre results of crooked hands.

How many enjambments halt the perfect line?

How many adverbs fail to foster flow?

I shoo these questions from my mind,

turning only to metaphor, image and form.


All words aim for a hidden sign buried deep

within strokes of type: spirit shrouded in matter.

Readers cluster at the end of each verse, searching

for an inward song. White flags mark the prize.

An orange crocus lies trampled in the mud. Beauty

bears its cross against mortal power. The weak say,

“Only the strong create.” The strong shrug

their shoulders, step onto the inky trail, begin.

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