I love to hear what poets say—
those bards, they can compose! So much they tell . . . who knows just why that blows the mind away! Although the poets write with words to bring delight, sometimes their meaning goes astray.
Some poets burn their candles to the snuff;
it makes me shout that I have had enough!
I scan their lines for something new to learn;
they craft their works with words I can’t discern.
They write of politics, expose love scenes.
In outer space, they claim, they grow green beans.
They speak of chemo rooms like vintage wine
and pen a parody on porcupine.
A freeway runs along the coast to Maine;
they bus me there through sheets of coldest rain.
They guide me to the quaint brush arbor meets;
I pray for soldiers on Iraqi streets.
The poets tell of trains that dance the rails,
then paint the ships at sea with wind-torn sails.
Like wheels, they roll to publish what they know.
Some win awards and stash their dabs of dough!
My inkwell spilled —
its contents bled
blue-edged circles onto the
yellow-flowered cotton sash
that accented my 15-year-old
waistline like an engagement ring
around a bony finger. Folks said
the chocolate milk I drank
made me unhealthy.
They also said my poetry would not
amount to much. They meant well.
The flowered sash no longer fits,
and I haven’t needed a doctor
since Granny treated the barbed wire cut
on my arm with juice
from a black walnut hull.
Today, I read my poetry at the White
House. Other guests included
international poets and folks
c Copyright, 2000, Freeda Baker Nichols
This poem is fiction. I’ve not read poety
at the White House. Maybe, someday–
a poet’s dream, perhaps?