Friday, June 16, 2017

The Watch and Two Other Poems By Thomas L. Vaultonburg

I wrote a poem while I was waiting for the clothes to dry. Jenny and the kids all needed socks for tomorrow, and I hate to go to bed while the dryer is still running. I also had a line that I was able to expand into a full poem. I think it may be the only poem I've finished this year. Last year I may have done four or five. I put it in my folder when I finished it and counted that I have now written 80 poems since my last book. Usually around 100 I start tjinking about doing another book, but at this rate that could be ten more years. 

The Watch

For most of my life I have lived feeling another Watcher had gone derelict and left me with a longer portion of the night than was my duty.

At first I longed for this entity to return, if only for the companionship. 

Later I became agitated and resentful that I was left with more than my own share of the task.

Many times I became confused in the darkness and wished they would return and explain my duties to me and how best to perform them in the absence of any instruction.

I learned to humor myself, often portraying the role of both myself and the absent Watcher, in the process mimicking the words I believed would pass between such a mentor and a callow student.

In time I made peace with the succeeding generations of nocturnal creatures that incarnated life after life in my purview. I became merely another inanimate thing in their periphery.

I became old on my watch and now believe a Watcher will soon arrive, but not the one I waited so long for. This one will come to stand here in this place and await instructions from me.

I will have nothing to say. 

Discourses In Poetics

"How does one become
A poet?" the Master asked.

"By ignoring the stream's babbling
And the willow's mumbles?"
The Acolyte replied

Answered the Master 
Who was a stream,
"By paying no attention to 
The wind's folly" 

But the newly minted poet
Was already chasing the moon 
Across a drunken horizon

"Shall the poet speak
Of suffering/"
Asked the second Acolyte

To the Master at
His opium pipe

"How do I capture
The poem?" asked
The third Acolyte

"Like packing the bag
of an unwelcome guest"
The Master rejoined

"But I'm not going anywhere"
Said the Acolyte

The Master frowned

"What is the purpose of the Poet?"
Asked the final Acolyte

I am attempting to access
Your bank account"
Said the Master.

The Old Hermit Speaks of Poetry

When my poems escaped me
Like ducks from a broken pen,
I did not chase them like the
Young poets from the village.
Instead, I finished my bottle of wine,
And wandered the hills drunken
And free from care,
Where I discovered my poems
Hiding in the rocks and trees,
And a brook singing a song
About a foolish old poet
Looking for his lost poems.

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