04 April 2011

to a frustrated poet

On Sunday night, I couldn't sleep in my recently re-arranged bedroom.

I thought about beginnings of poems, and I thought about my work to-do list. I thought I should start writing my work to-do lists as poems.

{They'd be sparse and full of acronyms that make sense only to me.}

Finally, I turned on the light and grabbed a book of poems. Short, easy to fly through. Anything to take my mind off work and I hoped that maybe the poems would help some of the poem fragments come together in my head.

I opened to this poem: "To a Frustrated Poet" and laughed. It's about poetry and work, exactly what I was thinking about.

I guess you could call this some sort of universe moment or kismet or a joke from God or sheer coincidence.

I just call it fun.

And now for fun: in the poem below, another, more famous poem is referenced. Do you know what it is {without using Google}?

{There is a prize for this, people. I will either a) mail you a prize, or b) give it to you when I see you next. And it will be cool, something better than a paperweight unless a paperweight is what you really want.}

To a Frustrated Poet
RJ Ellman

This is to say
I know
You wish you were in the woods,
Living the poet life,
Not here at a formica topped table
In a meeting about perceived inequalities in the benefits and allowances offered to
employees of this college,
And I too wish you were in the woods,
Because it's no fun having a frustrated poet
In the Dept. of Human Resources, believe me.
In the poems of yours that I've read, you seem ever intelligent and decent and patient in a way
Not evident to us in this office,
And so, knowing how poets can make a feast out of trouble,
Raising flowers in a bed of drunkenness, divorce, despair,
I give you this check representing two weeks' wages
And ask you to clean out your desk today
And go home
And write a poem
With a real frog in it
And plums from the refrigerator,
So sweet and so cold.


  1. William Carlos Williams! What a brilliant poem. (Both of them.) (And I promise I didn't Google. That plum poem of his is one of my favorites, and I still remember the first time I read it in high school...) Er -- and I just realized you asked what the other POEM was, not the poet, and I have to admit that I don't actually know the title. I just know that it starts with "This is just to say" and it's his apology for eating another person's plum from the fridge. Maybe "This is just to say" is the title? The other one I remember of his off the top of my head is the one about the red wheelbarrow glazed with rain.

  2. Rachel! You win! I believe you that you didn't Google, and I will award you this prize just for knowing it was William Carlos Williams and that he also wrote a poem about a red wheelbarrow.

    Also, thank you for stalking my blog -- and now commenting! You're no longer a stalker! (Brenda told me about the stalking.)

  3. Busted!

    I'm terrible about leaving comments... I use a feed reader and I usually don't add the comments feed in, so I miss out on all the discussion. (And sometimes I comment and then totally forget to check back for replies. Or, as was the case this time, leave the country for a week.)

    Anyway, I love your blog. Though it could always use more pictures of your puppy! And your apartment -- I especially loved the one of your chair in the window. Made me want to curl up with a mug of tea and a book.



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