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Poetic License: 20,000 Poems

By Staff | Jul 15, 2015

I should have written,

I could have written,

I would have written 20,000 poems,

yes, 20,000!

If only I had kept the vow I made on my twelfth birthday

To write a poem a day for the rest of my life,

And if only after easy and early successes with Anna and Shirley,

I had not gotten blocked on Day Three trying to rhyme Catherine —

Since then I have lived 21,184 days and if you deduct

For illnesses, prolonged encounters and other indispositions,

I would have written 20,000 poems, yes, think of it, 20,000 poems!

Poems for each day or night, about everything, anything and nothing,

Sonnets on seductions and taking out the garbage,

Odes on brushing my teeth and watching sunsets,

Ballads on births and breakthroughs and breakfasts,

Common and uncommon moments in common measure.

Poems rhymed, slant, blank, accentual, syllabic and free,

Quickie quatrains, loose limericks and haikus in a hurry,

All of them mine to read, remember and relive,

All of them mine to share — or not share — with everyone, anyone or no one,

All of them mine, yes, 20,000, all mine!

And of course they could not all be good, fair or even interesting —

But if just one of every twenty captured a moment,

A thought, an insight or a metaphor worth keeping,

And if one in every fifty stumbled into accidental epiphany,

Then I would have at least one thousand good or interesting poems,

Enough for at least twenty collections and perhaps a Selected Works

More awesome than Auden’s, fatter than Frost’s, bigger than Butler Yeats’

Shoulda, coulda, woulda: the story of my life 20,000 unwritten poems.

But if only I had thought on Day Three of calling her Kate or Katie,

I would have written 20,000 poems,

I could have had 20,000 poems,

I should have published 20,000 poems,

And this would not have been one of them!