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Some Functions of Poetry

To play. To feast on syllable
and syntax. Rip the bark off
language in long strips, bore deep
through cambium to the core.
To be pileated with passion.
Nest high up in the canopy
of dreams. Challenge
assumption. Don’t pin
the butterfly to the page.
Let no one legislate
how poetry should behave.
Beware the brawl
of hockey metaphors.
Do not paw the ground
like a trick pony tapping
to ten to please the crowd.
Ride bareback through
the sentence. Celebrate,
attend to astonishment.
Let the wind be your guide.
Be as persistent as a robin
rummaging for worms
on frozen ground. Take care
of your tribe. Name
the unnameable. Un-name
the named.
Ask how a smile
sounds. Ask a shadow to dance.
Sing. Sing even if you can’t stand
the sound of your own voice.
Do not let fear stop you. Know
even the fearless get afraid,
for creation is your birthright, your
obligation. Learn to let
all the rest go.

published 2007

publisher Always Press

category Addictions of a Poet Laureate

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