Absence of Poetry


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“Where are your poems?” the sultry librarian asked me, with the firm assurance of her kind of woman that I would have poems. Woman with liquid dark eyes and long black hair and a kind of sad facial beauty unillumined by her wry smile. Mediterranean? Hebrew? I never knew.

Her assumption about poems made me feel remiss because I did not have them. I considered poetry beyond my ability. This was on an old Army garrison post beside the Seine in Fontainebleau.

“No poems?” Perplexed. “I thought you would have poems. The way you talk sometimes has poetry in it.”

A pretty compliment.

But I already knew the difference between the discipline of poetic expression and spontaneous discourse, where thoughts feed upon and enrich each other until the words fly away into silence, wild birds escaping any chance of written captivity.



Bill Burkett

Professional writer, Pacific Northwest. 20 Books: “Sleeping Planet” 1964 to “Venus Mons Iliad” 2018–19. Most on Amazon for sale. Il faut d’abord durer.