A Poem A Day

Sometimes poems don’t go where you had planned, as you’ll see in my poem for today.  I was fairly happy with the poem until I realized my error, but in the spirit of NaPoWriMo, I course-corrected the poem and decided to publish anyway. I hope you enjoy it!


A Poem a Day

I saw William Stafford in a wheelchair
on a stage under a tent
at a poetry festival in Waterloo Village
in New Jersey
when he was very old and very witty.

His advice to those of us in the plastic folding chairs
who wondered how anyone could be so damn prolific:
write a poem a day.
Every day.
There, that’s it.
He guaranteed we would write
some very bad poems
as he had
but maybe we would have good ones, too
maybe as he had.
I wonder who else besides me thought this
the best and most enchanting advice and then ignored it.

I think now of the thousands of poems
I would have written since then,
certainly most would have been flat tires, going nowhere
but maybe a handful, or even just one single poem
would have been
like the great wooden waterwheel
that once turned at the mill
down the hill from where Bill
spoke that day,
a wheel churning with grace and purpose
harnessing water
spinning the gears
that ground the grain
that became the daily bread
for the people who once lived
at Waterloo Village.

CRAP! Now that I do the math,
it was Stanley Kunitz who was witty at Waterloo.
A poem a day was Stafford, but in an interview with Moyers.
Never mind.
Good advice converged at the waterwheel.
Or maybe, at the flat tire. CRAP!



A poem a day for April


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