Post Recitation

Some poems untested, the poet, young. What is the value of his young tongue? For the poet: poetry is a remedy, an exercise of the mind; poetry is a therapy, an exorcise of the soul, a mirror. For others: poetry is a design of words, the source of enjoyment; a set of cures, the source of learning, a window. But poems can also fail; a poet might never know until he begins to read. So the questions always asked, the answers he always needs: How did my poems affect them? How well did he succeed? Did they think he freed his gift, instilled a mood, a breathless wonder, as if he happened upon a beauty, flocks of ephemeral butterflies, and had not held his breath in awe, knowing he wouldn’t frighten them away? Did they think he offered haphazard words, inculcated a temper, a helpless bewilderment, as if the unsuspecting youth was subjected to a poetic injustice, unwanted meaning in imbalanced terms, and stood frozen mute in disbelief, not knowing how to speak, or what to say? The question’s now before you. You know that he adores you. Although he wouldn’t floor you, did he bore you?

October 1970