Tuesday, March 20, 2007
With a certain desperation,
I eat, shower and dress
each morning, pretending
to be a real person, pretending
to have a job. If I start a poem or story
or begin work on a novel or painting
before I am dressed, I might be in my pajamas
when the real worker comes home.
He might think me lazy, shiftless.
My work seems so peripheral,
in the larger world. No one cares
about the poetry, stories, or art
of an unknown artist.
My work sloughs onto the floor and vanishes
and I am left
an untidy housewife in an untidy house.
Thus, I dress, if I am stubborn or lucky,
and comb my hair
before I peer through the door
to see if the muse waits
with an apple
or poisoned apple
to tempt or slay me.
Sometimes, however, the muse is on me
before I rise.
She grabs me by the throat
and stuffs me with tenuous
but unshakable visions
and sits on my until, in pajamas
and tangled hair, I write
or exhaust myself into the impossible hours
trying to catch the ephemeral
the wraith of vision, held out
and snatched back. The muse teases,
hiding and reappearing.
I feel like a blacksmith
trying with a sledge hammer
to nail a moonbeam
to a gossamer strand.
Mary Stebbins Taitt