February 03, 2009

Writer’s Block
                    To Carolyn Forché

Once at a college lecture, someone asked
how long it took to generate your poetry,
the meditative travelogues
of your soul. You replied,
“Seven years”--The span of time
from inception of the thought
to conception of the poem.

I would ask now, wish I had asked you then:
What did you do in those seven years until the words came
in acceptable rows like schoolchildren with bright faces,
to replace the constant distant ache
tapping at the corners of your mind,
repetitive small echo
of infant ghosts waiting for their medium.

How did you occupy yourself until the poems arrived:
did you stare out windows,
leaning your head against the cold pain,
did you grip your hands one against the other
and wordlessly grieve like a barren woman
praying for children to clothe in crisp white folds,
smooth out their tangles and send into the world?

—Carol Clark Williams
Previously published in Digge’s Choice, Shirazad, PPS Prize Poems

Posted by dwaber at February 3, 2009 01:04 PM