• To the poet who fears the pen

    by Holden Jide

    I
    To the impressionable imbecile who thinks one can “be a poet and not even know it:”
    I hold you in the deepest disdain.
    To claim poetic knowledge at a whim,
    Without knowledge of rhyme or refrain,
    Is like spitting against the wind,
    And trying to avoid the returning rain.
    The source of the vengeful tempest is the breath
    Of the painfully belittled, bellowing poet
    Who feels the sting of your utterance, that dagger of death
    Which sinks into his heart as it mocks, “And I Didn’t Even Know It!”
    Alas, I fear that each moment this murderous motto is muttered again.
    O you arrogant, titular whore!
    Learn a lesson from they who fear the poetic instrument-
    They, who at first scribble, dread the critic’s drumming upon their door-
    They, who are plagued by the pen’s inky hiss,
    And instead of making a serpent and a paper kiss, watch it slither to the floor.
    Recognize that ‘poet’ is not a title simply self-proclaimed one day,
    But is a dangerous, double-edged sword, a worrisome word
    That turns Man into God, hands Him his clay,
    And subjects His creations to the interpreting herd,
    That endless sea of readers and re-writers which flows forevermore.

    II
    To the poet who fears the pen:
    Believe me, I have felt your helpless rage,
    But ‘poet’ is a practice – that which must be earned!
    Throw your inhibitions aside and put that perilous pen to page!
    And as you collect dust, perched in a café seat, longing to learn
    The steps of the poetic dance, you must get out of your head!
    Wade through the thick sludge of your ideas
    And solidify them with pen, before they wither dead!
    I assure you, as a ‘poet,’ I—

    Have I been talking to myself again?

    posted to Cedar Street Times on March 19, 2010

    Topics: Young Writers' Corner

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