Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
by Ivan Donn Carswell
I’m sure it would be easier to survive as a dead poet,
I mean it in the surmise that I won’t be tempted
to revise or rewrite the poem I wrote last night, or the
poems I wrote last week (which make me cringe when I
read them again), or when I read poetry of way back then,
the poems of a pimply boy wracked in the paroxysms
of youth, that I will not be not savaged by mortification,
seized by towering rage, or patronymic patronism,
or simply devastated by how far I’ve come
without apparently moving an inch.
All the while I thought I was improving, faster to the
interior rhyme, quicker to the slick rhythmic change
of pace, the clever about face in the turning of a line,
the sublime ending. In the final rendering I am still
the same stationary, sole survivor, alive because I
never really learned how to die.
© I.D. Carswell