Apologia pro carmina mea
Dear reader who reads my poems: sometimes
I say what I do not mean to write
and write what I don’t mean to say. Rhymes
make things clearer, for I puzzle what I might
say, and plan ahead so an awkward word
will not intrude. Words, birds in flight,
bright as postage stamps across the absurd
white snow of a page or a digital screen.
When I think about it, I assume about a third
of what I say, I really mean. Who has seen
the early morning wind drifting our thought-cloud
across the lawn, moving shadows cast on green
blades of grass, as we think our thoughts aloud,
each thought a pea in a pod, as some we clasp
between finger and thumb while others crowd,
and the loud, uneasy word slips from our grasp
to wound or injure or otherwise to hurt and maim.
It’s not my aim to do this. My word is not an asp
or a viper or a screw to be driven. I lay no claim
to hurt and yet sometimes a word slips sideways
and does not say what I mean it to say. I aim
to please, to tease, to provoke, in so many ways
and yet I often hurt where no hurt is intended.
If I have done you wrong and my word displays
unintended ends, forgive me: let all rifts be mended.