C. K. Williams: The Poet


[. . .]

Poets try to help one another when we can: however competitive we are,
          and we are,
the life’s so chancy, we feel so beleaguered, we need all the good will we
          can get.

Whether you’re up from a slum or down from a carriage, how be sure
          you’re a poet?
How know if your work has enduring worth, or any? Self-doubt is almost
          our definition.

[. . .]

                         –C. K. Williams, from “The Poet”



i can only speak
from my experiences—
that’s where you come in

A humble little senryu for dVerse, as we wrap up a week of celebration for 3 years of shared poetry. I’ve not always been a faithful contributor–I occasionally go through spells of dryness or laziness or darkness or I don’t know what. But I took the time to look back, and I found that since my first dVerse link up in October 2012 I have posted 59 poems. Some of them are, I admit, pretty shitty. Some might not be half bad. But none of them would have been written if it hadn’t been for you, dVerse neighbors, keeping this thing going and being a supportive community. Thanks to all!


I return today to Shingle Creek,
walking in the fine fall afternoon
alone. Wading through the shallows
to the east bank, right where the creek
cuts close to the old Bronson place,
I feel like the last ancient Israelite
crossing the Red Sea, barely ahead
of Pharaoh’s chariots.
                                     Crouching low
under the barb-wire fence I swish
through the shin-high grass, the humming
dragonflies hunting insects, shining
their blues and greens
in the lowering sun.
                                 I hear
a tractor in the distance, the rumble
carrying far in the clear air,
and I think about that day
we ran, you and I, making paths
through the field, pretending we were
dirt bike champions, shifting gears
by the rising tone of our growls.
For hours we ran, stopping just to catch
a lazy red corn snake sunning
on a sweetgum stump.
                                     I know
that with these old knees
I couldn’t run like that now, not by
any luck or necessity; and you,
old friend, only in memory
will ever run here again.
For dVerse MeetingTheBar. We are writing about friends, friendship, loss, in honor of Dave King. Dave was a regular contributor to the online poetry world (at least until his health limited his participation), and his kindness and craft will be missed.


Another dVerse OpenLinkNight. Grace, host of tonight’s event, has me thinking about spring. Write a few lines, send them in, and join the fun!

The storm, asking
no permission, broke
fiercely. Never one
to miss a good show,
I took a hard-backed chair
and cold beer out
on the front porch. How
long I sat
watching the water
thrash the trees and
tumble from the eaves,
I don’t know.
My reverie was broken
when I heard a voice
from the neighboring porch.
Hey there!Earl hollered out
over the storm noise.
Just watching it rain! I yelled back.
I hear you, brother!
The rain continued
to fall,
delicate drops
now, baptizing
the new grass.
We both went back
to watching.