Why are we here?  Who knows? Who cares?

Nobody will ever know.
So let’s not waste our time searching,
thinking, talking, writing poems.

Leave me alone with your abstract questions!
We’re here. Let’s live, play ball, dream, love.

Do whatever you’d like.
Help the others who don’t know,
despite their idle constructions,

Why we’re here.



Jesus, could the irony be that suffering forms a stronger bond than love?
David Bottoms

B, I do not address this poem to the Lord, because
I do not believe in the Lord but that you are the Lord.

We are bonded, are we not? After all, do we not cling
to each other in the dark by the cold window?

I don’t know that we’ve suffered the way that people can truly suffer –
in an ulcerous, cancerous, one of us is dying, kind of way (thank the Lord).

Instead, we have a child and a dog and we laugh, so it’s all pretty good.
But, we’ve arrived at middle-life with not much money or exotic experience.

We’ve never been to the musée Rodin, for example.
I feel bad about that. I am to blame.

I was too holy for Big Law, and now they don’t want me and that’s fine
because I still don’t want them. (I’m stubborn as hell, Lord knows.)

But something new happened with this new year, didn’t it?
I handed the public my name. I stopped worrying about the judges.

I said I do not aspire to robes or prizes; I aspire only to be worthy
of my name and your embrace of it.

I am, in short, going for the money because we have suffered so much that
we are really close now, Lord help you.

How do you start a poem?

I wonder if it might be fun to talk a little about process – beginning at the beginning, of course. How do you start a poem? Here are three perspectives:

Jack Gilbert: There’s no one way. Sometimes I’m walking along the street and I find it there. Sometimes it’s something I’ve been thinking about. Sometimes it’s an apparition.

Allen Ginsberg: It’s a feeling that begins somewhere in the pit of the stomach and rises up forward in the breast and then comes out through the mouth and ears, and comes forth a croon or a groan or a sigh. Which, if you put words to it by looking around and seeing and trying to describe what’s making you sigh—and sigh in words—you simply articulate what you’re feeling. As simple as that.

Nicholson Baker: I ask myself: What was the very best moment of your day?



I’ll stay there into the night
working on the brief.
Then drive home
to the sleeping house
and the wine bottle
that should remain sealed,
but won’t,
and the laundry
that I should do,
but won’t,
and I’ll drink and think
it’s not too late
to start something new,
which is mostly true
and mostly hope,
and then I’ll think:
it’s not that I’m too old –
it’s that I’m no longer young.

Poem to Consider: The Snow Man

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

— Wallace Stevens via Poetry Foundation ( LOGOS)