Not starting from scratch,
Go back gently to the ancient giants,
Have a tête-à-tête,
& feel their rage in the wilderness.
If you think they speak
In difficult words & complex rhymes,
Do not shun their company—
Listen to what they have to say,
Feel the desolation,
The broken heaps of words.
Feel the dead men speaking,
& the ghosts preaching.
If you do that,
You’ll know what poetry really is:
It is us hearing ourselves better.
You’ll acquire the gifts of words
& enjoy life, or maybe endure it.
But that doesn’t matter—
What matters is—
You’ll never look like a jackass
The next time you write or read