Thursday, May 21, 2015


You know how it is; 4 a.m. and an indefatigable bird
Has decided this is the very time to pour out
His profuse strain of unpremeditated art
On the river birch beneath my window.
There's nothing for it but to shrug on a robe
And struggle downstairs to try to write.
"Muse!" I say, "There is a poem I wish to make
About Nathaniel Johnson, Samuel's brother,
About whom almost nothing is known except
That he died at 24, perhaps by his own hand.
"Sorry," the Muse says. She is the very old one,
Filling in for my regular muse, who is on vacation
Wandering in
Calabria. The old muse offers me half
Her cheese sandwich. "What of Peter, Erasmus' brother?"
She says. "I think I could inspire a sonnet on him."
I refuse; we compromise on Stanislaus Joyce
Who, she says, used to take her dancing in

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