September 23, 2008

The Poet Explains Why She Has Never Written A Love Poem

Poor clichésés! Words like dear, sweet, nice and good
are banned from every poet’s lexicon, deemed meaningless
because their meaning has been drained away
from too much use, and nothing’s left but a shell.

All banned from every poet’s lexicon, meaningless
as an ice cream cone with the cream dripped out
from too much use, nothing left but the shell,
all crunch, no taste. A phrase like I love you

reduced to an ice cream cone, the cream dripped out.
Sweet words all neutralized from over use
all crunch, no taste. Phrases like I love you
make poor poems, and love poems are the worst

of all, sweet words neutralized from overuse.
Vanilla wafers stuffing every valentine.
Poor poems, love poems most of all,
disgust, and so, I euphemize, I similize.

I love you like vanilla wafers, Valentine.
You’re sweet as plain English, the crust in my pie.
See how I euphemize, I love you’s banned, unlike
this poem. In sweet plain English, my love’s

no pie crust fantasy. It’s full of meaning
and can never drain away. I love you, dear.
There. I said it. I’m no Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
but I can count the ways.

—Ellen Cole

Posted by dwaber at September 23, 2008 02:38 PM