« Know that one day the birds will come

                for their sprightly cameos in your poems »

« You’ll try to trap them too energetically

                at first, in your twenties »

« In your thirties, they will surely come;

                no poet turns forty birdless »


« Let forests be added to the poems,

                with their odors of pine and rot »


« Sooner or later, here come the flower names »

« You’ll recite them in an ecstatic list:

                amaranth, crocus,

                vibernum, vetch,

                jonquil, rhododendron,

                foxglove, lady’s slipper, narcissus »

« You are not responsible for this beauty;

                you are just a vessel;

                you just stand there and list the flowers »


« Girls, girls, girls! Sooner

                or later the girls

                will arrive »

« Girls

                with their detailed plans

                and gray scarves

                and all that hair complexly interacting

                with the lithe and lonely wind »


« Eventually the eternal city of Rome must appear in a poem,

                the soothing mystery of its tactile light,

                that feeling in your throat,

                the observation that the Italians possess

                (if possible) too much physical beauty,

                and the observation that they can be lazy

                and dignified at the same time,

                a combination impossible here at home »

« Rome will appear

                even if you never leave Wisconsin »


« Young poets should know that the doors leading

                out of the crowded theater of poetry

                are locked »

« Here, when someone yells “Fire!”

                there really is a fire »

Wes Civilz
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