Poem for a Young…

Poem for a Young Poet

his voice shakes a little
he reads of love and hope and stars
and he only has ten minutes for us
instead of twenty; he says
the rest wasn't ready

he isn't the only one
the room has more than a few writers
many secretly so
waiting for someone to give them
permission

I remember those days

my voice doesn't shake
I smile and meet their eyes
I read from a book
instead of printouts
tell publishing stories
of editors long gone

and I can see it in their eyes
dreams and hope and stars

but they don't know.

the broken fence, the lawn to mow
the house with a writing study
I never see, the mortgage,
the paperwork, the deadlines, the job
I can't just walk away from anymore
the way I once did
more than once

the child's voice raised, interrupting:
a snack, a meal, a shirt, please god a bath
to clean that disgusting mess off
the voices filling up the space
where the words once lived

they don't know
while my voice is steady
my stomach is churning
looking out at those lovely
twenty-something faces

they are so beautiful
potential space
eager to be filled
and here I am with my grey hair
filled up to the quotidian brim

wondering if I will find them again
if these children might lead me there
to dreams and hopes
to love and stars.

*****

(with apologies to the actual writers who read with last night, who read very well, and who aren't actually children me at all. forgive me -- it was for the sake of poetry. :-)

One thought on “Poem for a Young…”

  1. As you said to the dentists: “you signed up for the job, you knew what you were getting into”.

    [The job being “the broken fence, the lawn to mow/the house with a writing study/I never see, the mortgage,/
    the paperwork, the deadlines, the job/I can’t just walk away from anymore/…the child’s voice”]

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