The Final Poem
Bread Loaf, late August, the chemistry
of a New England fall already
inviting the swamp maples to flare.
Magisterial in the white wicker rocker
Robert Frost at rest after giving
a savage reading
holding nothing back, his rage
at dying, not yet, as he barged
his chair forth, then back, don't sit
there mumbling in the shadows, call
yourselves poets? All
but a handful scattered. Fate
rearranged us happy few at his feet.
He rocked us until midnight. I took
away these close-lipped dicta. Look
up from the page. Pause between poems.
Say something about the next one.
Otherwise the audience
will coast, they can't take in
half of what you're giving them.
Reaching for the knob of his cane
he rose, and flung this exit line:
Make every poem your final poem.
From: Still To Mow, 2007