Batter Up …

The Next Poem

by Dana Gioia

How much better it seems now
than when it is finally done–
the unforgettable first line,
the cunning way the stanzas run.

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

The rhymes soft-spoken and suggestive
are barely audible at first,
an appetite not yet acknowledged
like the inkling of a thirst.

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

While gradually the form appears
as each line is coaxed aloud–
the architecture of a room
seen from the middle of a crowd.

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

The music that of common speech
but slanted so that each detail
sounds unexpected as a sharp
inserted in a simple scale.

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

No jumble box of imagery
dumped glumly in the reader’s lap
or elegantly packaged junk
the unsuspecting must unwrap.

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

But words that could direct a friend
precisely to an unknown place,
those few unshakeable details
that no confusion can erase.

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

And the real subject left unspoken
but unmistakable to those
who don’t expect a jungle parrot
in the black and white of prose.

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

How much better it seems now
than when it is finally written.
How hungrily one waits to feel
the bright lure seized, the old hook bitten.

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3 thoughts on “Batter Up …

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