I could be discouraged by my bad poetry. Perhaps simply producing a poem isn’t enough. My friends’ poems are packed with arresting images and fresh language.
But it doesn’t matter. Just to write a poem is reward enough. And yet…inspiration eludes me. So here is my prayer.
O Wonderful and Mysterious Muse: please favor me!
I am receptive and wait, seated, with laptop, pen, and paper.
Or would you rather I sought you outside?
Are you among the shards of the river, shifting and tipping in the morning light?
Perhaps you prefer the lake, its monotonous waves moving toward the shore, swelling, cresting, brushing the sand, as inexorable as time?
Or do you wait for me at the grocery store, Allen Ginsberg prodding the tomatoes, watching the stock-boys with Walt Whitman?
Have I passed you by recently, without knowing you were there?
Did you slip past me at church on Saturday in the darkness? I tripped on the kneeling bench–was it you who pushed me?
Were you at the Easter buffet at the golf course, among the families selecting from tubs of lamb, haddock, and ham, beer glasses next to plates, daughters dressed in pastel taffeta, the laughter ringing loudly in the crowded hall? What did I miss in that scene, while I carried bowls of soup to my parents, squeezing past the grown ups lined up to fill their plates?
Or are you yet to come, a dream I haven’t written down, fragments that dissipate when I open my eyes? An animal waiting in the forest for me to notice? A sick man walking in the sunshine for a last look at the world in spring?
I open myself to you, O Beloved Muse, to receive the words you send.