Sunday Poems V

Poems are often very short. To spew out the count of words contained in a small poem can take thirty seconds of speaking. Sometimes we get lucky, and just sit down and write a poem and it comes out fully formed like a hen laying an egg. Except we must know that even if we don’t witness the construction, the hen does not simply sit down and make an egg appear out of nothing. Over many hours, through its natural living, the hen labours to make the egg within itself and we only get to view it after all of that quiet work and life has been spent already. And then it starts again.

There are other poems which do take a very long, indefinite period of work: moving things around, changing a word, changing it back, sounding it out hundreds of times either late at night, early in the morning, or in a sunny afternoon. The poem below is one of those. It may have been finished today, but it can say with certainty that it was started thirteen months ago. Sometimes you have to think about a puzzle for a long time, and the solution pops into being. I find when there’s something which seems unsolveable the best course is to let it be, and to allow my subconscious to play with it while I sleep.

Sundays are good days to write poems, and good days to read them as well. I invite you to sit down with the following poem for a bit. Maybe read it to a friend, a neighbourhood cat; watch the way your lips move over it in a mirror. If it made you feel something strongly, consider leaving a comment below, or sending me an e-mail.


Player Piano

the sun looks like it’s crying through the dust.
if you will, allow me to repeat myself:
this morning i woke up earlier than usual and so
i have written another ode for the moon.

if you will allow me to repeat myself
i will drink water and write, write, write until
i have written another ode. for the moon
strikes me with such beauty that i am almost poisoned by it,

i will drink water and write, write, write until
i am energized and cured! so many wonderful friends
strike me with such beauty that i am almost poisoned by it
and i’m sick of being sick but lately

i am energized and cured by so many wonderful friends
we play all over the neighbourhood, of course,
and i’m sick of being sick but lately
i am beginning to feel quite tired and outside

we play all over the neighbourhood. of course
this morning i woke up earlier than usual and so
i am beginning to feel quite tired and outside
the sun looks like it’s crying through the dust.


This post was originally written on October 25, 2015 for Latitude 53, while I was their Writer in Residence.