The True Poets

A New Year Dawns by Wendy / Flickr user smkybear The true poets, seeing the world in a grain of sand, do not ask Why then so many grains of sand?

The true poets lie once then spend the rest of their lives shoring up the lie.

The true poets hum along with themselves, visiting in drafty castles, hunched over stone tables all night while the wind whistles through faulty windows, thinking themselves so very clever.

The true poets, despairing of meaning, wrestle with sentences; despairing of words, contend with syllables and are overcome.

The true poets do not agree with sharks and worms, they think the world is too much with us, they lie in bed at night fully clothed but never sleepwalk, they sleep deeply instead, fail to howl at the moon, and wake with rumpled shirts, fully rested.

The true poets spout the future’s clichés and die never knowing their true worth, never knowing it even after they have been dead a hundred years.

The true poets plot getting from here to anyplace but jump ship en route from Mexico without waiting for landfall, vanish into the dark swollen sea that undergirds the world and live forever.

The true poets, good for nothing, win the Nobel Prize in their dreams, wake to scrambled eggs toast and coffee, wishing for marmalade.

The true poets are patrons of failure put to the truth of others.

Image: A New Year Dawns by Flickr user Wendy / smkybear, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Generic 2.0 (CC BY-SA 2.0) license.

This poem was written in response to a prompt from “Anaphora is a literary term for the practice of repeating certain words or phrases at the beginning of multiple clauses or, in the case of a poem, multiple lines…. So today, I challenge you to write a poem that uses anaphora. Find a phrase, and stick with it — learn how far it can go.”

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