Why He Writes Poems

William Stapleton

“Poets! A dime a dozen!”
the publisher’s smile was wry,
“Can’t make a dime on a dozen rhymes,
no matter how hard you try”

“You’ll work for days on the well-turned phrase,
‘til it says just what you feel,
but nobody hears. They all have tin ears,
and hearts that are made of steel.”

“Oh give me the action novel,
with its hero strong and true.
From his blazing guns our adrenaline runs
and we sense our life anew.”

But a poem, you see, speaks philosophy;
‘smell the roses; light the fire.’
It’s all hearth and home and nights alone
backed up by a gospel choir.

So he tried his hand at the Bard’s fair stand,
Longer stories; better role.
But the damn thing rhymed! Every blessed line
had a cadence and the plot was droll.

He read Steinbeck, Capote and Vonnegut
learning how to craft those tales.
Even tried gestalt and a single malt
but alas, all his efforts failed.

He heard talk one day, in a friendly way
of a senior at Harvard Med,
whose miserable life was nothing but strife
since he fainted when anyone bled.

Then resigned was he, Doc he would not be
and feeling an awful failure
discovered his stitches worked also on britches,
made a million as a high-class tailor.

So I writes these lines and I craft the rhymes
knowing well they’ll not make me famous.
But with soapbox friends as the evening ends
It’s applause for the bright ignoramus!

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Why He Writes Poems by William Stapleton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.