He didn't want to do it with skill, He'd had enough of skill. If he never saw Another villanelle, it would be too soon; And the same went for sonnets. If it had been Hard work learning to rime, it would be much Harder learning not to. The time came He had to ask himself, what did he want? What did he want when he began That idiot fiddling with the sounds of things.
He asked himself, poor moron, because he had Nobody else to ask. The others went right on Talking about form, talking about myth And the (so help us) need for a modern idiom; The verseballs among them kept counting syllables.
So there he was, this forty-year-old teen-ager Dreaming preposterous mergers and divisions Of vowels like water, consonants like rock (While everybody kept discussing values And the need for values), for words that would Enter the silence and be there as a light. So much coffee and so many cigarettes Gone down the drain, gone up in smoke, Just for the sake of getting something right Once in a while, something that could stand On its own flat feet to keep out windy time And the worm, something that might simply be, Not as the monument in the smoky rain Grimly endures, but that would be Only a moment's inviolable presence, The moment before disaster, before the storm, In its peculiar silence, an integer Fixed in the middle of the fall of things, Perfected and casual as to a child's eye Soap bubbles are, and skipping stones.