by Lee Robinson

There’s no such thing
as the necessary poem;
that’s what saves poetry
from a life like ours,
from desire and striving.
That is not to say a poem
can’t yearn for something
it isn’t yet, can’t crave
a meal of only apricots
or want a one-way ticket
to another country.
It can. We know
how a poem can need so much
it turns to mush, and how
sometimes even out of mud
and mildew rise the most
fantastic flowers. No,
what I mean is different.
That the poem is redeemed
by indifference, that before
it’s written, the world
does very well without it.
Therefore it is free
to be what it wants to be
or not to be at all.
That’s its deliverance,
its saving grace, and why
when it decides to speak
we listen to a language
that is ours, but so unlike us.


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