Kenneth writes, “This is a tongue-in-cheek lament about the once-promising phrases that inhabit some of my unsuccessful poems. I’ve drawn phrases from a number of those poems to create this one.”
Consider the orphaned words
of the unfinished poem, outcasts
floating in the ether, left to languish
in some old folder, yellowed
and worn at the edges, then die.
Not for the weak and stillborn,
pruned by nature;
but for the robust and poignant phrase
once gleaming with promise—though
born into a feeble poem.
Who brought these children
into the world, only to see them neglected?
A woeful mother? Cruel father?
A tragic muse willing to abandon
her own word?
Where do they go, these forsaken
offspring of momentary insight?
Are they tucked away in some box,
sold for cheap at a thrift store,
then snuck into a young man’s whisper
as he dances close to his girl?
Forgotten words and lost worlds, they are,
like a dying young tree that never has a chance
to grow tall, peer above the forest and gaze,
gaze upon land stretching out,
out to a distant horizon where it beholds,
for one moment, the splendor of a sunset.
Consider that setting sun: dare we hope
these lost words—the strong and the vivid—
might be reabsorbed into its twilight;
then, through tomorrow’s morning rays
falling on another land, mingle with a new poem, reborn:
this time, rightly metered and rhymed?
Will they not count for something
in the cosmic resting place of mots juste?
Will the flash that begot them
burn softly in God’s mind, as they await,
patiently, some resurrection
after their cruel abandonment?