THE POEM SHOULD BE THE LAST TO KNOW IT’S A POEM

                          LAST TO KNOW 

     If you want to write a poem, you’d better sneak up on it. Never, I warn you, never mention the word “poem” in a poem, Don’t let the poem know it’s a poem with a cadence, a conscience, a quick conclusion. Let it out like a breath into the air where it can rise and float off without a care or an awareness of its nature, of its own early demise. Don’t let on. Make some excuse for the line break; say you momentarily ran out of ink or ideas. Explain away the alliteration as purely coincidental. As for the metaphor – well, sometimes a river is just a river.
     If the poem finds out it’s a poem, it will become self-conscious, and start to stutter and babble, sensing the urgency to be profound and erudite, inscrutable and poignant, glib and scarcely intelligible, all at once… oh yes, and brief. It’s too much pressure for any piece of writing!
     Better to let it think it’s a novel that can take its time and meander at leisure, while a patient reader abides. Let it stroll along unknowing as it winds around each bend.
Don’t let it find out it’s a poem till the end…
till the end.
Don’t let it find out it’s a poem
till the end.

                          (Mike Cohen – 12/2020)

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